Best Sellers

Monday, February 25, 2013

Do You Like Barbara Taylor Bradford?

Barbara Taylor Bradford is coming out with a new title on April 9, 2013. The title is Secrets from the Past. An American Photojournalist finds secrets in her famous deceased photojournalist father past. What she finds will change her life. Sounds pretty dramatic, doesn't it? Bradford writes family sagas often featuring women so if you are waiting for her new book, try one of these works by other similar authors.

Heartwood by Belva Plain - an unforgettable story of family and friendship, love and marriage, the challenges of life and the true secret of happiness. This was Plain's last novel as she died in 2000 and is the fifth in the Werner Family Saga. Iris Stern considers herself a modern woman, with a successful academic career and a happy marriage, but as the mother of three adult children, each with their own lives and burdens to bear, she often is confronted with the choices her children have made.

Crossroads by Belva Plain - a powerful tale about the consequences of greed—and the acts of love and forgiveness that can heal the heart. Crossroads is about the jealousy of two women: Gwen, born into wealth, who marries Stan, a common man, and Jewel, born into poverty, who marries Jeff, a privileged man.


Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah - a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past. Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters.

A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber - In the middle of the year, in the middle of her life, Bethanne Hamlin takes a road trip with her daughter, Annie, and her former mother-in-law, Ruth. This heart tugging story of three related women driving across country leads to challenges to each woman's plans.

Wideacre by Philippa Gregory - Beatrice Lacey, as strong-minded as she is beautiful, refuses to conform to the social customs of her time. Destined to lose her family name and beloved Wideacre estate once she is wed, Beatrice will use any means necessary to protect her ancestral heritage.

The Favored Child by Philippa Gregory - The Wideacre estate is bankrupt. The villagers are living in poverty and Wideacre Hall is a smoke-blackened ruin. But, in the Dower House, two children are being raised in protected innocence. Equal claimants to the estate, rivals for the love of the village, they are tied by a secret childhood betrothal but forbidden to marry. Only one can be the favored child.

Vegas Sunrise by Fern Michaels - this is the third book in a 3 book series. If you want to start at the beginning, it is Vegas Rich and then Vegas Heat and lastly this title. When Thornton dynasty matriarch Fanny Thornton Reed chooses her first husband's illegitimate son to run the family's successful Vegas casino, it is a decision she will live to regret--one that turns her children against each other and threatens to destroy the Thornton family once and for all.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Titles Out April 2, 2013

April is a pretty busy month for new titles. As you may have noticed, most titles come out on a Tuesday. There are occasionally big name authors whose titles come out on other days but Tuesday is almost always the day for new books. On April 2nd, there are six books coming out that perhaps I might be able to tempt you to read.

All You Could Ask For: A Novel

The most interesting one for me is All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg. My curiosity has been aroused. How can the cohost of ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning AND the author of 'Why My Wife Thinks I'm an Idiot" write a book from a woman's point of view???? It seems impossible to me - which makes me want to read it to see if he has pulled it off. Its the story of 3 women, one happily married; one about to undergo a divorce and one who has become extremely rich working for the man who broke her heart and how they face adversity.

Reconstructing Amelia

The next title which has fascinated me has really had a lot of buzz for another debut novelist, Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. A single mother with a teenage daughter has just found out that her daughter, Amelia, was accused of cheating and has jumped off the roof at her private school. The mother tries to 'reconstruct' Amelia's life from emails, texts and cell phone logs to find out how and why. The work has been described as heart wrenching and compelling and is recommended for those who liked Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl or Jodi Picoult's titles.

There Was an Old Woman: A Novel of Suspense
There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron is another title that comes out on the 2nd. Ephron writes suspense and prior titles have been nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. This one involves to elderly neighbors, When one is sent to the hospital, she whispers to the other to call her daughters and "Don't let him in until I'm gone." The daughters arrive to find the house wrecked but with some interesting things inside - a high end flat screen television and some very expensive liquor. How could this unfortunate woman afford those things? Who was behind the purchasing and demolition of houses in the neighborhood? Some fairly good reviews on this one.

Life After Life

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson has gotten rave prepublication reviews. It has been called sublime, Booker worthy and remarkable. One person said that it was a 500 plus page book that kept getting better and better as you went along. Perhaps with a confusing premise, this story is about Ursula Todd who is born in 1910 and lives and dies repeatedly in many different ways. It is not about reincarnation as much as it is about all the different paths our lives could have taken. People seem to find this work worth multiple readings.
The Smart One
Lastly, Jennifer Close after her successful debut with Girls in White Dresses is coming out with The Smart One. This time she tells the story from 4 women's point of view - and each point of view is different. Weezy Coffey's 3 adult children end up living back at home. How could they all have failed to survive in the real world when she had tried so hard. Her two daughters and her son with his girl friend come back home and try to learn to grow up. Perhaps I identified a little too much with this descriptive  account but I've got it on my list to read.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The New Book To Read

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs came out last Tuesday. Here is the Booklist review written by Bill Ott. It is the season's thriller to read.

A first novel comes along every few years that clearly separates itself from the field, like Secretariat winning the 1973 Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. This year’s Secretariat is going to be Ghostman, a propulsive thriller that combines incredible detail and nonstoppable narrative drive. Jack White is the Ghostman, a pseudonymous loner living far off the grid who specializes in disappearing. After a high-level heist, he makes sure that all traces of the caper vanish. Only once, in Kuala Lumpur, did it all go bad. The organizer of that job, a master criminal named Marcus, blames Jack for the fiasco, so when Marcus penetrates Jack’s deep cover, it clearly means trouble. But Marcus doesn’t want to kill the Ghostman, at least not yet. What Marcus wants is for Jack to even the score by making a botched armored-car robbery in Atlantic City disappear—except, of course, for the take, which has itself disappeared but needs to be found. The clock is ticking because if the $1.2 million in freshly minted bills isn’t recovered quickly, it will explode. Naturally, there are multiple levels of double- and triple-crosses layered within the premise, and Hobbs tantalizingly reveals them—always keeping his hole cards thoroughly vested as he tracks Jack’s progress. The suspense builds inexorably, heightened rather than impeded by the supportive detail with which Hobbs undergirds the action (the backstory on those exploding bills, for example, will have readers wondering how a twentysomething author could possibly know what he knows). There’s also a jaunty, cat-and-mouse subplot involving Jack and a female FBI agent who may be more interested in Jack than the crime. Comparisons to Lee Child are inevitable here, and surely Hobbs possesses a Child-like ability for first unleashing and then shrewdly directing a tornado of a plot, but he also evokes Elmore Leonard in the subtle interplay of his characters. A triumph on every level.
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Knopf knows it has a winner here and is backing Hobbs’ debut with the kind of marketing support rarely granted a first novel. Movie rights have been sold to Warner Brothers, and options have been signed by 13 publishers across the globe.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Agatha Nominees for Titles Published in 2012

The Agatha Award is presented to titles that are not as dark or bloody as the Edgars. People sometimes refer to them as cozies but I think they are becoming slightly more sophisticated than that traditional description. The nominees were recently announced. The library has or is getting all of the titles for Best Novel and Best First Novel. See if you can pick the winner.

Best Novel: (Hummmm - Davis, Malliet, Maron and Penny were all nominated last year also. Looks like Ryan is the only fresh face.)

The Diva Digs Up The Dirt by Krista Davis - Sophie Winston is looking forward to a few days off. But then a reality show turns up in her front yard, thanks to her annoying neighbor (and her ex-husband's whatever) Natasha, to give her a new garage. An odd woman shows up asking Sophie to find her missing daughter, then stalks Sophie when she turns down the job on the grounds that she's an event planner and not a detective. There are tangled - possibly fatal - relationships within the wealthy family of a man for whom Sophie plans a party. And when she attempts to replace a dead rosebush in her boyfriend Wolf's yard, she digs up more than she'd bargained for - Wolf's missing wife's purse.

A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet - Max—Anglican priest, former MI5 agent, and village heartthrob—investigates two deaths at Chedrow Castle. But his growing attraction to Awena Owen complicates his case, as does the recent arrival at Chedrow Castle of a raucous group of long-lost, greedy relatives, any one of whom has a motive for murder.

The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron - Judge Deborah Knott and her husband Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant are back home in Colleton County, NC. There are several new or revisiting faces as well, including Lt. Sigrid Harald. When a string of suspicious murders sets Colleton County on edge, Deborah, Dwight, and Sigrid once again work together to catch a killer, uncovering long-buried family secrets along the way.

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny - No outsiders are ever admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Quebec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. Ironically, for a community that has taken a vow of silence, the monks have become world-famous for their glorious voices, raised in ancient chants.But when the renowned choir director is murdered, the lock on the monastery’s massive wooden door is drawn back to admit Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec. There they discover disquiet beneath the silence, discord in the apparent harmony.

The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan - Investigative reporter Jane Ryland is trying to resurrect her career which was destroyed when she refused to reveal a source. She has no idea that her determination to find out who the ‘other’ woman is in random pictures of a senatorial campaign will turn out to be a convoluted story of seduction, betrayal and murder involving several ‘other’ women.

Best First Novel: Hmmm - notice the predominance of Southern states - South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama and Texas. Do murders not happen elsewhere?

Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer -Private Investigator Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer.

Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown - This one takes place in Savannah. After turning the first floor of her home into a consignment ship, Reagan Summerside discovers that murder is good for business when she finds her ex-husband's new girlfriend dead in his Lexus.

A Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan - Having traded in her career as a successful investigative journalist for the life of a stay-at-home mom in picturesque Cumberland Creek, Virginia, Annie can’t help but feel that something’s missing. But she finds solace in a local “crop circle” of scrapbookers united by chore-shy husbands, demanding children, and occasional fantasies of their former single lives. And when the quiet idyll of their small town is shattered by a young mother’s suicide, they band together to find out what went wrong…

A Killer Read by Erika Chase - For the first meeting of the Ashton Corners, AL Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society, six friends gather in Molly Matthew's old Southern mansion-including Lizzie Turner, a reading specialist with a penchant for mysteries. But the mystery book club meeting becomes the scene of an actual murder when a stranger is shot-and nobody knows who the victim is, or how Molly' antique gun came to be used as the murder weapon.
Faithful Unto Death by Stephanie Jaye Evans -  In a town where things seem to be utterly perfect at all times, readers soon learn that Sugar Land is not so very sweet after all. The core of the story centers around Walker “Bear” Wells, a former college football star who is now a minister in Sugar Land. Bear doesn’t want to get involved in the investigation; he basically just wants to pray for the deceased and help the grieving family, but clues keep cropping up and eventually Bear’s life is overrun by the crime.

There are several of these that I want to read. How about you?

Friday, February 8, 2013

If You Really Loved Gone Girl - Try One of These

Everyone is trying to come up with the next Gone Girl. That will be hard to do, but if you really loved that title, try one of these older works that have the same feeling of suspense.

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson - an edge of your seat story about a woman with a type of anterograde amnesia who wakes up each morning surprised to see a 40 year old face in the mirror. Each day, she forgets her husband, forgets her life and does not know how she ended up where she is. Frightening, so she starts keeping a journal. Who can she trust? Really, really terrifying. This is actually the first title I blogged about way back in June of 2011.

Sister by Rosamund Lupton - I've blogged about this one also in December of 2011. Lupton writes this novel in the form of a letter from an older sister to her dead younger sibling. She explains all her thoughts and reactions to finding out Tess, the younger, was missing and then found with her wrists slashed. While the police and the rest of the family believe this a suicide. Bea, the letter writer, is sure it was murder. Very suspenseful, very well written, highly recommended.

The Expats by Chris Pavone - Kate leaves her position at the CIA and she and their children accompany her husband to a new job with a bank in Luxembourg. Living in a country where you don't speak the language with a husband who is mysteriously absent and friends who are not what they seem. It can't help but bring out the spy in her.

Promise Not To Tell by Jennifer McMahon - Another Kate, but this time a 41 year old school nurse who returns home to care for her mother. On the night she arrives, a young girl is brutally killed. It brings back the memory of 30 years ago when her friend, Del, was brutally slain and the murderer was never found. The memories is brings back are not good ones.

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens - Annie spent a year as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist. Here she recounts events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

Gone by Mo Hayder - Murder detective Jack Caffery arrives at the scene of a car jacking to find that on the back seat of the car, was an 11 year old girl. Cafferty and team start to realize that the jacker targeted the car because it had a child in the back, and that this is part of a pattern; in the other cases, the children were released. Then there's another carjacking, and another girl taken. Can he find the children?

In The Woods by Tana French - This is the first of French's Dublin Murder Squad series and it features Detective Rob Ryan. Just like Promise Not To Tell, Rob was the only surviving member of 3 children who went into the woods. He was found covered in blood and hugging a tree and he can not remember anyting that happened. Now, a 12 year old girl is murdered in the same wood and he is one of the investigating detectives.

The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson - this is the first in Davidson's Lily Moore series. Lily, a successful travel writer, moves to Spain to get away from her troubled, drug-addicted younger sister, Claudia.  But when Claudia is found dead in a bathtub on the anniversary of their mother’s suicide, Lily must return to New York to deal with the aftermath. The difficulty is, when she views the body at the morgue - she discovers it is a stranger. This title won the Anthony Award for best first novel in 2010.

Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry - This also won the Anthony Award for best first novel in 2012. It also won the 2012 Mary Higgins Clark Award. A single woman dives headlong from a ferry into Lake Champlain to rescue a child, and then must figure out what to do with him. It's really very good.

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly - In 1997, responsible 'good girl', Karen Clarke, spent a hedonistic summer of drugs and sex that ended in murder. Ten years later, she and her 9 year old daughter, are picking up Rex from prison where he has spent his time charged with a double murder. What lengths with Karen go to, in order to protect her family. Throughout the book, there's a feeling of something dark lurking in the background. It's hard to put down.

Enjoy some of these titles which are available at the library.