Best Sellers

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

3 Thrillers

It is almost June and the weather has become quite warm. Perhaps it's time to turn up the suspense dial on our reading list. Below are 3 very different, very good titles from which to choose

Bellwether Rivivals is an entrancing debut by British novels Benjamin Wood that arrives on June 14th. The story opens with at least 2 bodies - one still alive and one dead. We are not sure who died as we follow the story of Oscar Lowe, a young working class Care Assistant in a nursing home and a wealthy, troubled brother and sister, Iris and Eden Bellwether. Iris is troubled by her extremely talented brother and asks for Oscar's help. Eden is eccentric, wildly brilliant and full of conceit. The story is compelling, the characters are real. It has been compared to a mix of The Secret History and Brideshead Revisited. This wonderful debut will leave you impatient for Wood's next entry.

Faye and Jonathan Kellerman have a son. Such two well known thriller writers had produce something special. Their son, Jesse Kellerman, is an award winning playwright and also an author of quirky thrillers. The definition of potboiler according to Merriam-Webster is  "a usually inferior work produced chiefly for profit." This is obviously NOT going to be your typical thriller. A middle-aged college professor decides to take some action when his friend, a best-selling thriller writer, is lost at sea. He searches out the widow and becomes involved in things much more complicated than he planned. It has been called a thrilling parody of the modern thriller that will make you shiver, think, and laugh. Try this title when it arrives on July 5th if you want a change of pace.
Lastly, there is The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty on June 14th. Ellen O’Farrell is an expert when it comes to human frailties. She’s a hypnotherapist who helps her clients deal with everything from addictions to life-long phobias. So when she falls in love with a man who is being stalked by his ex-girlfriend she’s more intrigued than frightened. What makes a supposedly smart, professional woman behave this way? She’d love to meet her! What she doesn’t know is that she already has. Saskia has been masquerading as a client, and their lives are set to collide in ways Ellen could never have predicted. In many ways, this title is about the grief we feel for things we 'thought' were going to happen. We picture our future in our minds and what would we do, to try to ensure that it happened the way we pictured. A slow starting book that quickly becomes a book that you can't put down. Perfect for the beach.

Monday, May 21, 2012

June Blockbusters

For all those who read and loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Mark Haddon is coming out with The Red House on June 12th. When a wealthy doctor tries to reconnect with his sister after their mother dies, he invites her whole family to come for a week to his vacation home. This account of a dysfunctional family is told from many different points of view. Haddon's prose lays resentments, desire, misunderstandings ands secrets bare. There is a wide range of opinions on this title - some love it and find it "a worthy addition to Haddon’s oeuvre of literary fiction" and some wish they had not taken the time to read it. What will your opinion be?

Janet Evanovich offers the 2nd in her new series focusing on Elizabeth Tucker, the cupcake baker from Salem, MA. She first appeared in the Plum series and expanded to her own title in Wicked Appetite. In Wicked Business, out on June 19th, the evil Grimoire Gerwulf is out find the second of the Seven Stones of Power and Diesel is out to protect Lizzy. This series is aimed at younger readers but the first title was very popular so if you read that one, here is the next.

For those who like suspense and action, Risk Agent from Ridley Pearson is getting rave reviews. This thriller will come out on June 19th. In this possible new series, a firm that specializes in recovery of hostages is called in when a Chinese National working for an American-owned construction company is grabbed off the streets of Shanghai in broad daylight. The security company recruits Grace Chu to follow the money and John Knox to use his muscle and use his muscle he does. Who is actually behind the kidnapping? Will they find the hostages? Ah - well if this is being touted as a series, you know that Grace and John survive.

Luanne Rice offers her 30th novel, Little Night, on  June 5th. When Clare tried to protect Anne from her abusive husband, she didn't know she would end up in prison for 2 years charged with assault. What made it worse was that Anne lied during her trial to defend her husband. After Clare is released, she is a changed person but one day she receives a note from Anne's daughter and things start to change. An engrossing story about family ties and what being a sister means.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

For Nonfiction Readers

June has several very interesting nonfiction titles arriving particularly. Some are military related in many ways and one is a comment on our health system.

Colin Powell is quite the storyteller in his new title coming out on June 5th. It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership isn't really a memoir but a series of stories or parables that helped him develop his "13 Rules" of leadership. His warm, wise and ethical advice on succeeding at work and in life, is bound to inspire.

John A. Parrish is a doctor and Professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School. He might seem to be the picture of having it made. His Autopsy of War: A Personal History which arrives on June 5th, gives you an entirely different picture. From 1967 to 1968, Parrish served as a Marine doctor on the ground in Vietnam. This experience traumatized him and left him suffering from PSTD for 40 years. This is a profound memoir of his wartime work and his struggle afterwards. He became recognized as one of the most innovative physicians in his field, yet he was tortured by PTSD, lived virtually homeless at times, visited veterans shelters and fled his family while reliving his Vietnam experience in a series of harrowing flashbacks. With treatment though, he has found a form of redemption. Definitely not a light read but one that is rewarding.

Anthony Swofford also pens a memoir on the difficulties of returning from war, Hotels, Hospitals, and Jailswhich comes out on June 5th. Swofford was a Marine sniper during the Gulf War. On his return, he authored Jarhead, a New York Times bestseller recounting his experience. Jarhead was made into a movie and Anthony had all the time and all the money to live his life to excess. This title reports on a series of road trips that he took with his terminally ill father. Not having had a close relationship with his father, Swofford had some things to work out. He casts a courageous, insistent eye on both his father and himself in order to make sense of what his life was, is and could be.

Amanda Bennett, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and editor at Bloomberg and co chair of the Pulitzer Prize board, delivers The Cost of Hope on June 5. This memoir of her courtship and marriage asks the ultimate question, how much would you spend to extend the life of a loved one for just a possibly short amount of time. There is no answer to this question but when Bennett's husband develops terminal kidney cancer, they are on the path of discovery. After his passing, Bennett takes a look at the medical effort that was expended on his behalf and the amount of money that it cost. In the end, she believes she would not have changed anything but this does aid in our discovery of how medical costs are set.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Can't Miss Thrillers!

The author who wrote Robopocalypse, Daniel H. Wilson, is coming out with a new title on 6/5 - Amped. Reviews are ranging from "WOW - one of the highlights of 2012" to "heard this story before ; no real substance". However, if you liked Robopocalypse, this will be a must read. In this title in a  frightening near-future world, people are implanted with a device that makes them capable of superhuman feats. Conservative society makes these individuals less than human and laws are passed restricting their rights. Owen, an 'amp', goes on the run looking for a place he might be safe. Some thought provoking dilemmas here. Often, a person's opinion on this type of book depends on their ability to take that leap with the author and to be transported into the future.

Gillian Flynn's new book, Gone Girl, is also coming out on June 5. Flynn writes deeply disturbing thrillers. Some people call them creepy. Her first title, Sharp Edges, was a Edgar finalist for best first novel and won 2 British Dagger awards. Her second title, Dark Places, was a USA Today's Top Summer Read; one of Publisher's Weekly top books of 2009 and one of the New Yorker's Reviewers Favorites from 2009. Obviously, great things are expected from this title. Nick and Amy are celebrating their 5th Wedding Anniversary when Amy suddenly disappears after an apparently violent struggle. The clues are there that Nick is at fault. Nick claims complete innocence. Deep inner secrets are revealed and nothing is the way it appears. Flynn develops the characters well and this is being compared to Tana French's In the Woods. Really quick read although you may not be able to go to bed until you finish. I have my name on the list for this one.

Peter Farris is the son of John Farris, another published author. Peter must have learned well because Last Call for the Living is getting excellent reviews for a debut author. It comes out May 22 but the reviews have been so glowing, I have to talk about it. It is also dark and pretty violent but grabs you from the start. Charlie, a young male bank teller, is taken as a hostage by a hardened criminal,  Hobe. Hobe had managed to get in trouble with the law and the Aryan Brotherhood. Both parties are after them when they escape into the North Georgia mountains. This is a thriller that is also an excellent character study of the good guys, the bad guys and the innocent.