Best Sellers

Friday, August 18, 2017

September LibraryReads

First let me apologize for missing 2 weeks. I had the horrible stomach bug that is going around and it took me a while to recover. However, the LibraryReads came out and although there are some - well - quirky ones on the list, I need to let you know about the titles chosen for September.

First place was Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The Richardson's are respected members of the Shaker Heights, Ohio community. Elena, the wife, is an avid planner and rule follower. Her younger daughter, Izzy, is the brunt of teasing and never seems to make her mother happy. Into the community come Mia and her daughter Pearl. Mia is an artist and moves every few months to find inspiration. Pearl envies the Richardson's life style but all is not perfect in the Richardson family. Ng is able to have us really look at the individuals inside the family. A rewarding mother/daughter read that is compared to Jodi Piccoult.

And the rest:

Sourdough by Robin Sloan. One of the quirky ones. Sloan's first title was Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore. The tone in this one is the same but the topic and plot is different. Here, Lois Clary is a software engineer in the near future San Francisco. She spends all day coding and collapses by herself at night. That is, until a neighborhood restaurant quickly closes and the brothers that ran it leave her with their sourdough started. The door to underground San Fran is opened. One reviewer called it 'delightful'.

Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence. OK - first of all, this list is chosen by librarians or people that work in libraries so....the subtitle will tell you why this one made the list - it is A Librarian's Love Letters and Break-Up Notes to the Books in Her Life. A must read for all book lovers.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. Cashore is known for writing fantasy for young adults. This one is different. Quirky and different. Cashore, herself, says she started writing this title as a choose your own adventure type of story. Jane, is mourning the loss of her Aunt Magnolia - the person that raised her - when Kiran Thrash comes and asks her to go with her to her family's estate, Tu Reviens. Here, the story takes five different courses and Jane decides what choice to take. Those who like different and quirky might just find this is the book for them.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford. This title tells the story of the struggles of an abandoned part Chines young boy and is told in 2 time periods. One is the 1909 World's Fair where a 12 year old charity student at a boarding school is raffled off as the prize and ends up as the house boy at a high-class brothel. The other is the 1962 Worlds Fair where the man who had been that boy is trying to help his wife retain some of her memories.  Not just a sweet love story but one reviewer has said "One of the first really good historical fiction reads of 2017, the characters that Mr. Ford creates are so well developed, they are unique and yet believable.

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld. Before I even tell you anything about the plot, I want to cite some of the reviewers for this extraordinary work. One said"A wonderful, extraordinary book. The author speaks from her heart on every page." Another said it is "written with such ethereal grace it's like reading a holy relic but with subject matter so perverse and dark I find myself ricocheting from joy to sheer terror at the story being told." Lastly, one said although it addresses "themes of home, child abuse, memory, survival, fear of intimacy, and the necessity of stories, The Child Finder is absolutely glorious." High praise all around. Naomi Cottle is an investigator that specializes in finding missing children. Part of the reason she is so good at it is that she was a missing child herself and can remember nothing of the time before she was found. She takes the case of Madison Culver who disappeared three years before while her family was in the forest in the Pacific Northwest looking for a Christmas tree to cut down. What a story!!!!

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones. This one is dystopian fiction and it is one I am not going to read. Why you ask???? Because the US has become infested with disease bearing ticks!!!! I hate ticks! OK - it may be because I have dogs and I get the willies when I find a tick on them but....they really are blood suckers. OK - so most of society lives behind a scorched line where ticks can not venture. Those who find that limiting, go beyond the line and leave themselves open to those ticks. There is more than the ticks out there. Which is the right side of the line?

Hanna Who Fell From The Sky by Christopher Meades. Truthfully, I am not sure what to say about this one. Hanna is approaching her 18th birthday in a polygamist community and on her birthday she is to marry a man her father's age who already has 4 wives. She meets Daniel, a young man in church and he opens her eyes to other possibilities. Then her mother tells her a secret. Should Hanna leave the life she has always known and live her own life on her own?

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller. This novel has been authorized by the Little House estate. It retells the story from the point of view of Laura Ingalls' mother, Caroline from when she and her husband Charles left their home and family with their two young girls and ventured forth to make a life for themselves in Kansas.

Lastly, George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl. This is the story of two very different people who meet and get married. Lizzie is depressed and unsatisfied even before the marriage. George is happy and loves Lizzie completely. 10 years into the marriage, a long held secret of Lizzie's is revealed and she must make a decision. Can she move toward happiness?

OK - there you go. Some quirkiness for sure. Hope that is something that sounds interesting to you.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Last For August

July is almost over so it is the last entry for August titles. And yes - there still are more that are interesting so I will get started.

Carla Neggers has her seventh Sharpe and Donovan title coming out on August 29, Thief's Mark. This series reminds me a little of the Catherine Coulter FBI series. Here Sharpe and Donovan are on their honeymoon in Ireland when they find out that the home of Emma's grandfather has had a break-in and an old acquaintance, Oliver York - an expert in Celtic mythology and a well known art thief. When Oliver is discovered missing with a dead body in his apartment - the case begins.

Next Hollie Overton has The Walls coming out on August 8. This is Overton's second book after Baby Doll. In this title, Kristy Tucker is a single mom who works for Public Relations with the Texas Department of Corrections. She becomes involved and eventually marries her son's martial arts instructor and discovers she made a big mistake. Now she has to decide whether to stay in an abusive marriage or murder him. Seems like there ought to be another choice.

T. Parker Jefferson has The Room of White Fire coming out on August 22. Parker is an award winning thriller author who has yet to make it to the 'A list' but perhaps he will make it this time. Roland Ford is a private investigator who is very good at his job but has hidden problems. He is asked to track down a young traumatized veteran, Clay Hickman, who as escaped from a mental institution. But why is he getting different stories from people and why are so many anxious to have him found?

Erica Spindler has The Other Girl coming out on August 22 also. Spindler writes fast paced, dramatic, psychological suspense with strong female characters and usually a dark atmosphere. Here, Miranda Rader has become an Officer in the Hammond, LA police department. She has covered up an incident in her past until the policeman who took her statement that night is found dead AND her fingerprints are at the scene. Her co-workers begin to doubt her trustworthiness and she can only rely on herself to find out who is setting her up.

Stephen Baxter has his SciFi title The Massacre of Mankind coming out once again on August 22. This is actually a sequel to H. G. Well's The War of the Worlds. Baxter's title takes place 14 years after Well's work. Earth may have prepared technologically but when the Martian's invade again, they are successful. Walker Jenkins's sister-in-law is organizing one last attempt for survival.

Laurie Gelman gives us something quirky with Class Mom on August 1. This is a debut from Gelman who follows the antics of Jen Dixon, recently settled down after a rather wild youth (and beyond). The PTA president asks her to become the class mother for the Kindergarten class. When she requests 'special' brownies for curriculum night - you know that the protests will begin.

Hopefully, that will give you some more to think about before we start on September titles. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Continuing With August Titles

So - lots of good mysteries and thrillers in August. So many, in fact, that I don't know if I can cover them all this week. I better get started.

Allison Brennan has Shattered coming out on August 22. This is the fourth in the Max Revere series. A friend asks her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son's murder. There have been 4 boys kidnapped and murders in the same manner over the last 20 years. No one will talk to Max about this case but she thinks if she can solve one of the older ones, she can find the killer in this one. Justin Stanton was the first one killed. His father will help if she works with Justin's aunt, an FBI agent, Lucy Kincaid. They don't trust each other but between Max's research and Lucy's training, they could be successful......if the killer doesn't stop them first.

Paul Cleave has A Killer Harvest coming out on August 1. Cleave comes from New Zealand and writes fast paced; intricately plotted and often gruesome thrillers. This one focuses on Joshua, a teen who was blind but received a corneal transplant. One of the cornea came from his father who was killed in a shootout; the other came from his father's killer who was shot by his father's partner. With the eyes, came memories of things both had seen and done. Then, the killer's partner decides he want revenge. Will Joshua be safe?

Tess Gerritsen has I Know a Secret coming out on August 15. This is the twelfth in the Rizzoli and Isles series. First, a horror film producer is found dead in her bedroom, laying on her bed, holding her eyes. A case that has Rizzoli and Isles baffled. Then a second body is found with three arrows straight to his heart. Someone knows the answer to the questions and that person, is most likely next on the list of the killer. Can Rizzoli and Isles find her before the killer strikes again?

Hart Hanson has The Driver coming out on August 8. Hanson was the creator of the TV series Bones so much was expected for this title. Reviewers seem to think he came through. Michael Skellig is an ex- special forces sergeant and now has his own limo driving firm which employees other veterans. He also hears voices of people he has killed. The voices are not angry but warn him of trouble. When he saves the life of an ex-skateboarding rapper, he also becomes the prime suspect. When other's start to die, the rapper hires him for protection. Who is trying to kill whom?

Jorn Lier Horst was a senior police office on the Norwegian police force. He started writing crime fiction in 2004. Ordeal also comes out on August 8 and is the tenth in the William Wisting series. If you like Norwegian noir and haven't tried Horst, give him a try. He is good at what he does. Here a single mother inherits her hated grandfather's house and opens a basement safe. Here, she finds clues to a long unsolved case. Wisting, in following the clues, finds contradicting evidence for a case where the wrong man is on trial. Neighboring police are not happy with him. It is a question of police procedures or justice? Which will win?

Shari Lapena has A Stranger in the House coming out on August 15. First, we meet Karen who is preparing a meal at home waiting for her husband. Then, when her husband, Tom, comes home, he finds the door unlocked, dinner half prepared and Karen with her car is missing. When the police show up at his door, he is sure he is about to hear the worst but finds his wife is in the hospital after a car wreck and can't remember the accident or the hours before. Is she faking it? There had also been a murder in the vicinity. Is Karen a murderer?

Sean McFate and Bret Witter have Deep Black coming out on August 8. As a former U.S. Army paratrooper and private military contractor working in Burundi, you would have to suspect McFate would write military action thrillers. Your suspicions would be correct. This is the second in the Tom Locke series. If you haven't read the first one, it gave a relatively believable description of the role of military contractors in today's wars. Here, Locke and his team, part of a military contractor's efforts, is in Isis controlled Iraq when a Saudi middleman asks them to find a missing Prince. More is going on than meets the eye. Will Locke's team survive?

OK - that hopefully has one that interests you. Next week there will be more August titles. Enjoy!

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.