Best Sellers

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Last of January Before I Am Off

I am going to finish up January titles before I take off until the new year. Perhaps I can do some reading and come back with some more possibilities for you.

I am going to start out with a strange but delightful book by Emma Hooper. Hooper was written other things (nonfiction, short stories, poetry, etc) but Etta and Otto and Russell and James is her debut novel. It arrives on January 20th. Etta is an 82 year old woman who has begun to forget things. She lives with her husband Otto on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. Otto has an old friend who is their next door neighbor, Russell. And James is a talking coyote. See, I told you it was strange. Emma has never seen the ocean and decides to walk the 2000 miles to see it. Oscar stays home and writes her letters he never mails. I found it delightful because it is really about their lives. One review said "This is a beautiful story with threads that weave together past and present as one, not unlike the way Etta experiences time."

This next book I had to buy because ..... well, because of the title and subject matter. Mobile Library by David Whitehouse is also out on January 20th. The story is about 12 year old Bobby Musku. Bobby is bullied at school and abused at home. His mother has left. His best friend is tragically injured. Bobby befriends a bullied neighborhood girl who had special needs. Her mother cleaned and took care of the mobile library. When the mother loses her job and Bobby is badly beaten by his father - they take off across England in the mobile library. A book that makes you redefine the meaning of family and one that stays with you after you close the cover.

OK - one more quirky book and then I will go back to bigger name authors, I promise. Brooke Davis has Lost and Found coming on January 22nd. Davis is an Australian author who wrote a PhD dissertation on grief and this eventually became the result. Basically it is about a 7 year old girl, Millie, whose father died and whose mother abandons her in a department store.  She is assisted in her search for her mother by Karl, a nursing home escapee and Agatha, a reclusive bitter woman in her seventies. The three of them form a search party of sorts but it is more about death, love, companionship and dealing with grief. Highly reviewed in Australia.

Breaking Creed by Alex Kava comes out on January 27th. This title is advertised as a new series with Ryder Creed. Creed, however, was introduced in Kava's 11th Maggie O'Dell title and O'Dell is in this one too. Regardless, Creed is a former Marine who trains dogs to be search and rescue or drug dogs. Creed is searching a vessel when they discover not drugs but humans. Creed helps a 14 year old girl escape who reminds him of his sister. She happened to be a mule for a drug cartel. Maggie O'Dell is investigating a series of murders when she uncovers a hit list with Creed's name on it. Is it too late?

Jayne Ann Krentz has Trust No One coming out on January 6th. Grace Elland is an assistant to a motivational speaker who she discovers dead in his bed. Something about the murder brings back bad memories of her past and she retreats to home. After an awkward blind date with Julius Arkwright, she discovers she is being stalked and she has to rely on Arkwright, who is an ex-marine. Can they find the person after Grace before that person manages to entrap her?

Lastly, No Fortunate Son by Brad Taylor comes out on Dec 30th. This is the 7th in the Pike Logan series. Logan and his partner, Jennifer Cahill, have been fired from the top secret counter terrorist unit, Taskforce, much to their shock and dismay. Then their former commander calls them with a request to find his missing niece. While investigating, they discover that there has been a series of kidnappings of high US officials children. The terrorists are threatening to kill the hostages one by one unless they counter terrorist actions. Who better than Logan to find the bad guys?

Enjoy the holiday season. I will be back in January.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Continuing with January

Wow - this will be a short month for this blog. Probably one more after this one and then - off till the new year. Let's see how far I get today.

I don't know how many people read George Pelecanos. He has won awards for his hard boiled, gritty, kind of dark suspense and has written for the television series The Wire. If you like Michael Connelly, you could give him a try. On January 6th, he comes out with The Martini Shot, his first group of short stories and a novella. The title is a film reference to last shot of the day and is the lead story. Most of these stories deal with adults reminiscing about troubled youth - some very affecting.

Scott Blackwood has See How Small coming out on January 20th. This is not a crime/suspense story although it does revolve around the murder of three teenage girls who were tied up and then set on fire in a Texas ice cream shop. It is really about how this crime effects the parents, friends and witnesses of the event. Told in snippets of narratives jumping back and forth in time, it is an emotional read.

Uncle Janice comes out on January 6th and is by Matt Burgess. It follows Janice Itwaru who is an "uncle" (an undercover narcotics officer) for NYPD. Janice is working toward making detective when the work comes down that a quota has been instituted. Janice works toward trying to decide who the biggest criminals are - the drug dealers or her bosses. Dark and desperate while presenting a fresh take on a cop novel. If you liked Elmore Leonard, give it a try.

Jan Ellison's debut novel, A Small Indiscretion, arrives on January 20th. It focuses on Annie Black and wife and mother whose son has been in a horrible accident and lies in a coma. The story moves back and forth in time between Annie's youth in London and Paris and her current life in San Francisco. It focuses on how 'small indiscretions' of her past come back to effect her present. If you like Liane Moriarty, you might want to try this one.

Rebecca Scherm has a debut coming on January 22nd that has critics buzzing - Unbecoming. Grace from a small town in Tennessee, plans an art theft and gets two men to do the job. When the two men get arrested and sent to jail, Grace, changes her name and escaped to the outskirts of Paris as an antique restorer. The two men are released and Grace is sure they are after her. Are they? The psychological twists and the deeply flawed characters might remind you of Gillian Flynn so although it is not another Gone Girl if you like that type of story, give it a try.

The last one is another debut novel, One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis, arrives on January 27th. The work was published in the UK and hit the top of their bestsellers list. It is also in the Gone Girl genre. Emily Coleman is a lawyer with a husband and a son, suddenly she runs away and becomes Cat Brown. She lives in the seedy part of London in a group home and parties till all hours. The mystery is - why - what did she run from? The answer comes, but not till the end.

OK - there you have some brand new names to try. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

January Titles

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Now, in this short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I am going to try to get in all of the January books that I think might be of interest. This week I will start with the bigger name authors. There are more than in December - but not what I would call alot. Therefore, there may be some names with which you are not as familiar. Maybe that means you will find some more authors that you like.

I happen to like Tim Dorsey. Maybe it's because I have lived in Florida and he is definitely a Florida author or maybe it is because he has won me over with humor. His series features Serge Storms, a pleasant serial killer - I know, I know but trust me, Storms is just that. A serial killer that you root for. Dorsey has Shark Skin Suite coming out on January 27th. Serge comes to the aid of an ex-girlfriend (Brook), current new attorney in foreclosure law. When it appears that Brook is getting ready to win and major class action lawsuit, the defendants become ready to take her down. Therefore, Serge is ready to get involved. Always a fun ride.

On January 20th, James Grippando gives us Cane and Abe. Grippando's work is always kind of twisty and dark. This one is no exception. Abe Beckham is Miami's Senior Trial prosecutor with his first wife dead and his second one gone missing, the FBI shows interest in him as the perpetrator of a series of murders by a man called The Slasher. Can Abe prove his innocence? Is he innocent? His friends and family begin to wonder.

Ever popular James Patterson teams with Maxine Paetro for the next in the 'Private' series. Private Vegas comes out on January 26th. Jack Morgan, based in the Private firm in Los Angeles, tracks 2 criminals to Vegas where he runs into Lester Olsen. Olsen is wining and dining attract young women and teaches them how to kill. How much trouble is Jack Morgan in?

If you are into contemporary romance, Maya Banks has In His Keeping coming our on January 27th. This is the second of the 'Slow Burn' series. Ariel was abandoned as a baby and raised by a wealthy couple in the lap of luxury. She was also kept isolated and protected because she had telekinetic powers. Now she is of age, she also has a stalker. Her parents hire a security specialist to keep her protects. Beau Devereaux almost immediately falls for Ariel. Will he have to pay with his life?

Charles Todd, the mother and son writing duo, has A Fine Summer's Day: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery coming out on January 6th. Anyone who enjoys literate, historical mysteries will love this (?these?) author/s. They write 2 series. One featuring Bess Crawford, a World War I nurse and this one featuring Detective Ian Rutledge. His past titles have been after World War I but this one gives his back story. Just a month or two before WWI was declared, Rutledge proposes to Jean and his marriage is part of his focus. Jean would like him to go to war to become a hero for her. He is chasing around trying to solve a string of murders that may lead him to a serial murderer. What decisions will he make?

Finally, Stuart Woods comes out with the next Stone Barrington book on January 6th. Insatiable Appetites is the 32nd in the series. An old nemesis comes into view while Stone is attempting to distribute the estate of an old friend. In the process, secrets are unearthed - some surprising and some scary. Can Stone keep his cool?

Hopefully one of these will catch your fancy for January.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Amazon's Top Ten for 2014

Amazon recently announced their top ten titles for 2014. In reviewing the titles, the editors at Amazon read nearly 500 works.

Number one on their list is Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. This is a debut novel about a family (the father is Asian and the mother Caucasian) living in 1970s Ohio. One of their daughter's is found dead in the middle of a lake. The book is about how and why she died but even more is about the people that make up the family and how the tragedy uncovers their division.

Two on the list is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This is the story of a blind French girl and a German orphan boy - both growing up during World War II. It has been called astonishing, enthralling, beautifully atmospheric and deeply moving. Doerr is a respected author who routinely gets good reviews but this one surpasses his efforts in the past.

Next comes a nonfiction work, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides. In 1879, the editor of The New York Herald funded a naval expedition to explore the Arctic Ocean and hopefully find the North Pole which was thought to possibly be a temperate island. Obviously wooden ships don't deal well with ice packs and the ship sunk leaving the men 1000 miles north of Siberia. This work chronicles their  adventure. Said to be a historical "The Perfect Storm".

Another work of nonfiction is next, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs. This is a biography of an African-American man who managed to escape the slums of Newark via a scholarship to Yale University who could not escape the dangers of the streets when he returned home. Said to change the way we think about race, class and the meaning of friendship.

Fifth on the list is Redeployment by Phil Klay. This title recently (as in this week) won the National Book Award for fiction overcoming many well known authors. Klay was a Marine Captain who spent over a year in Iraq. The Dartmouth graduate came back and got his MFA on his return. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News. He says this book, a series of short stories about the experience of war and also of homecoming, is the only way he could work out his experiences in his head. The Washington Post said it is "one of the most compelling depictions to date of the Iraq war." The New York Times called it "the best thing written so far on what the war did to people's souls." All the critics seem to agree that this will be a classic.

Next on the list is Revival by Stephen King. Amazon says it is "the best kind of King book: a little horror, but mostly pitch perfect details about youth and faith and family." Over 50 years ago, a small boy meets the new minister and one can not imagine the things that occur in the future.  Called rich and disturbing and a masterpiece. I guess Amazon agrees.

The next is the last of the nonfiction works, Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman. Back in 1961, Michael Rockefeller disappeared in the jungle of New Guinea. No one has known what happened to him. Carl Hoffman retraced his steps and traveled to New Guinea and has come up with the answer. A fascinating tale.

Next comes Cristina Henriquez's The Book of Unknown Americans. The story takes place in an apartment building in Delaware and is told in alternating voices by it's residents. All of the residents are Spanish speaking immigrants but the main story features Mayor, a male teenager from Panama who has lived in the country since he was little and Maribel, a beautiful but brain injured girl whose family came from Mexico so she might be able to recuperate.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty comes next. This was one was really a breakout title which made her a real name in the United States. The story of three women in Australia and the death at a school trivia night. Dazzling, humorous and hard to put down. It is hard not to like this kind of writing.

The last on the list is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. An apocalyptic novel that follows the relationships among a troupe of traveling actors. How even after most of the population has died, there are those who travel around bringing Shakespeare to those that remain is somehow comforting. Called a compelling page-turner; a meditation on fragility and a cracked mirror that reflects both our lives and our hopes and fears.

Enjoy some of the above.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Other December titles

As I said last week, December is not a popular month for publishing. That does not mean that there are not good titles coming out, just that you have to look deeper to find them. It is also a month where titles by authors who have been published in other countries are hitting the U.S. market.

Ursula Archer is an example. She is a popular Austrian author who has specialized in teen and children's novels. Five is her first adult title and it comes out on December 9. This title combines geocaching with murder. Those unfamiliar with geocaching will appreciate the fact she does give basic information. It is a process where you enter GPS coordinates into your cell phone and then go searching for treasure. In this case, the treasure is pretty gruesome. This will be a series featuring DI Beatrice Kaspary who is investigating a dead body that has map coordinates tattooed on her feet. Said to be spine tingling.

Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery by Christopher Fowler comes out on December 2nd. This is the 11th in the series so the characters have already been developed ... and they are characters in many ways. If you like this series, you like whimsy, quirky and strangeness all mixed with a good does of social commentary. Here Bryant and May are assigned different cases. May is investigating the death of a teen, one of two teens saw a dead man rising from his grave. Bryant is sent to investigate who stole the ravens from the Tower of London. Apparently, legend has it that Britain will fall when the ravens disappear. The appearance of dead bodies increase as the two cases intertwine.

Rebecca James is an Australian author. Sweet Damage, her new title, arrives on December 2nd. This I have seen defined as a thriller, romantic suspense and a Gothic mystery. You will have to read it to find out what you think.Tim Ellison, a aimless surfer dude, finds a cheap room to rent in a beautiful old home where his task is to keep Anna London, the owner, connected to the outside world. Anna is agoraphobic and can't leave the house. Tim strange things start happening in the house at night. Tim becomes emotionally involved with Anna and then her past comes back to haunt them both.

Fifty Mice by director and screenwriter Daniel Pyne comes out on December 30th. Jay Johnson is nabbed from his normal humdrum life by the FBI and placed in Witness Protection on Catalina Island. He has no idea what they think he saw and can find no reason for it in his memory. Reviewers have said this is a "gut-wrenching psychological thriller that really messes with your brain." 

Lastly, Kazuaki Takano has Genocide of One coming out on December 2nd. This title has won awards in Japan and is his first introduction to the English speaking world. A 3 year old boy, Akili, is identified as the smartest being on the planet. He can perceive patterns and predict future events. However, emotionally, he is still a 3 year old. The President of the U.S., decides that this threat to humanity must be destroyed. Jonathan Yeager leads the international team assigned to take care of the task. Yeager has a sick child and is torn about his orders. Perhaps Aliki is the only hope for his son.

I hope there are a few here that interest you. They are all in the catalog so pick one or two to try.

Friday, November 7, 2014

December's Big Names - Not Many

December is not the most popular publishing month. At least not for the big name authors. November was bigger by far and January will be pretty big - but December - not so much. There are a few and I will include some relatively well known ones to round out the week.

Phillip Margolin, the lawyer/author from the northwest, has Woman with a Gun coming out on December 2nd. This is a departure for Margolin whose plots usually involve a young lawyer. This time, the plot features a young aspiring author who sees a photo in the museum and becomes obsessed with finding out the story behind it. She quits her job and moves to the area where the murder associated with the photo took place. Her investigation causes murders to begin again. Perhaps, from the reviews, more of a man's book but give it a try and see what you think.

Tess Gerritsen has another Rizzoli & Isles Novel coming out on December 30th, Die Again. Many have come to Gerritsen's series because of the television show which is a shame because Gerritsen has been writing 'can't put down' thrillers since 1996 and the Rizzoli & Isles series since 2001. Another interesting fact is the Gerritsen is actually a retired physician. Perhaps that makes you look slightly differently at her medical examiner character, Dr. Maura Isles. In this title, Rizzoli is investigating the death of a big game hunter found hanging upside down with the body of a white snow leopard in his apartment. The crime takes Rizzoli to Botswana where she discover it is tied to a deadly camping safari 4 years prior and sets her off after the lone survivor.

Jack Higgins has Rain on the Dead coming on December 30th. Two Chenchen mercenaries attempt to kill Jake Cazalet, the past president of the United States, while he was vacationing on Nantucket. Unfortunately for them, Sean Dillon, the black ops hero of many of Higgins works, and his partner Captain Sara Gideon were visiting.  The evening ended with both mercenaries dead. Dillon though wondered how they knew Cazalet would be there. Upon investigating, what he found, chilled him to the bone.

Cormac McCarthy has a screenplay that is being reprinted after almost 40 year, Gardener's Son. The title is coming on December 23rd. The film was broadcast on PBS in 1976 and received two Emmy Award nominations. It is the story of two Southern families, the mill owning Greggs and the mill employees, McElvoys.

Karen Robards specializes in romantic suspense. She is becoming more popular than Mary Higgins Clark. On December 2nd, Hush arrives. Riley Cowan discovers her estranged husband dead in his mansion, the police rule it a suicide. Riley, however, is convinced it was murder by an angry investor. Riley's father-in-law was guilty of a huge financial fraud which lost many investors retirement savings. Riley reunites with an old flame, Fin Bradley - an FBI agent, to track down the murderer before he can murder again.

Lastly, James W. Hall has The Big Finish coming out on December 2nd. Hall is an author who perhaps is not as well known. He is an award winning author and professor from Florida and many of his works take place there. He has written 18 novels and this is the 14th in the Thorn series. Thorn's son has gone underground hoping to make an ecological statement. Thorn receives a postcard from him asking for help. On his way to North Carolina, Thorn is intercepted by an FBI agent who tells him he is too late. He says that Thorn's son was an FBI informant and he has been executed when that was revealed. that the truth????

Friday, October 31, 2014

Romances, Mysteries and Thrillers from Library Journal's Best of 2014 List

I promised you some genre titles from the Library Journal list and here they are. I am going to give you 4 of the romances; 4 of the mysteries and 4 of the thrillers (although I'm not sure I would have put one of them in that category).


Sarah MacLean's Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover comes out in November! It is not even out yet and it made the list!!! Of course, keep in mind that all these people have read the book before publication in order to review it so I guess it is fair. This title also made the LibraryReads list and I just spoke of it last week. What I said was ". This is the 4th and last of The Rules of Scoundrels series, a very popular mass market paperback romance. Lady Georgiana's reputation is ruined before she has her first season by giving birth to an illegitimate child. She turns instead to London's dark side and becomes known as Chas, the founder of the city's most legendary gaming institution. Duncan West, a newspaper man, is intrigued and finds out everything. Will he publish his information or claim her heart?"

Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Heroes Are My Weakness came out in August. It made the August LibraryReads list. I blogged about it at that time saying "Annie - an actress who has turned to puppetering to try to make a living, is forces to an island off the coast of Maine in the dead of winter. Her mother has left her a cottage - that she needs financially in the worst way - if she stays there for 2 months. Also on the island is Theo - a teenage crush of Annie's who became one of her tormentors in her teen years. Now, a well known horror author, he presents a dark and threatening atmosphere. Hmmmmm - wonder what happens......."

Mary Jo Putney's Not Quite a Wife came out in August. James, Lord Kirkland and Laurel Herbert are married young but Laurel leaves James when he kills a possible assassin in front of her. 10 years later they have a chance encounter that turns passionate. Will they be able to stay together this time?

Mary Balogh's Only Enchanting came out this week. It is the fourth in her Survivor's Club series. Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby was injured physically in the was and emotionally when he came back to find his fiancee marrying his best friend. Now she is back and Flavian asks the first woman he finds acceptable to marry him. Agnes Keeping had fallen deeply in love with Flavian and agrees to his proposal but when she finds out why he proposed, she tries to run away. Who does Flavian really want?


Parker Bilal's Ghost Runner: A Makana Mystery came out last February. This is an interesting series placed in Egypt that features a former Sudanese policeman now turned private investigator. Makana is hired by a lawyer's wife to investigate possible adultery and ends up being hired by the lawyer to investigate who killed a young girl. The case takes him to a remote oasis in the Sahara on the border with Libya. Murders follow him. Very good sense of place here.

Frances Brody's Murder in the Afternoon: A Kate Shackleton Mystery came out in September. This is the third in the Kate Shackleton series. Shackleton is a WWI widow who has set herself up as a private investigator. One morning, she is presented by a woman claiming to be her sister (Kate was adopted) who wants her to find her missing husband. Her children went to get him for dinner and found him dead, by the time they went to get help, the body had disappeared. No one believes them except their mother. For those who like Maisie Dobbs.

Ed Lin's Ghost Month came out in July.  Jing-nan's parents died and left him their noodle shop burdened with heavy dead. His high school sweetheart, Julia, and he promised each other that after they went to America and made a life, they would marry but things didn't work out that way. Now he finds out that Julia was killed and he becomes deeply involved in finding out what really happened.

Peter May's The Lewis Man was originally published in 2011 but reprinted in September. This is the second of the critically acclaimed Lewis Trilogy. Fin Macleod has returned to the Isle of Lewis leaving behind his wife and career in the police force of Edinburgh. He is intent on restoring his parent's cottage when he is interrupted by the discovery of a body from a peat bog.


Catherine Coulter & J.T. Ellison's The Lost Key came out in September. This is the second in the Brit in the FBI series. FBI Agent Nicolas Drummond and partner Mike Caine investigate a Wall Street stabbing death and discover there is more going on than meets the eye.

Robert Dugoni's My Sister's Grave will be coming out tomorrow, November 1. Tracy Crosswhite is a homicide detective with the Seattle police department. She has always questioned the facts about her sisters murder. She believes the wrong man was found guilty. She couldn't do anything without her sister's body though and now it has been found.

Hank Phillippi Ryan's Truth Be Told came out in October. This is the third in the Jane Ryland & Jake Brogan series. Ryland, the investigative reporter, is digging up information about a middle class family that is being evicted from their suburban home and learns some facts about a money making scheme. Meanwhile Brogan, the detective, has reasons to doubt a man's confession to a 20 year old murder.

Andy Weir's The Martian came out in September. This is the one that is maybe not a thriller although it is a thriller. Hmmm. Did that make sense? Anyway, we have it labeled as Science Fiction but there is no doubt that the plot is suspenseful and thrilling. The first man to walk on Mars damages his space suit during a dust storm and his crew leaves him behind on the surface, thinking him dead. He has no way to signal Earth that he is alive and even if he did - no one could get to him in time. How can her survive? 

OK there is your look at titles that make the genre list. Hope you find some that interest you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Library Journal's Best Books of 2014

Seems a little early to me but Library Journal put out their Best Books list first this year. Of the top 10 titles - 6 of them are fiction and 4 are nonfiction. They have separate lists for genre fiction which I may cover later but here is their top 10.

Roxane Gay's An Untamed State (Fiction) came out in May. It is the story of a woman of privilege in Haiti who is kidnapped for ransom. Her wealthy father refused to pay while her husband fights for her release over thirteen days.

Glenn Greenwald's No Place To Hide (Nonfiction) came out in January. It is the Edward Snowden story told from the point of view of the journalist that Snowden first contacted.

Mark Harris's Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War (Nonfiction) came out in February. It is the story of how Hollywood changed WWII. and how WWII changed Hollywood through the eyes of 5 film directors (John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra and George Stevens).

Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings (Fiction) came out this month, in October. It offers
 a fictional investigation of the attempted assassination of reggae star Bob Marley and travels from 1970s Jamaica, to 1980s New York and back to the Jamaica of the 1990s.

Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction (Nonfiction) came out in February. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions where multiple species disappeared. This is an account of the disappearances occurring all around us today.

Gary Krist's Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans (Nonfiction) yesterday, October 28th.  This is the story of the early-20th century battle in New Orleans between the city's elite "better half" and the underworld - personified in Tom Anders, the head of the city's vice district.

David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks came out in September. This plot is kind of confusing. If anyone remember Cloud Atlas you might know what I mean. It beings with a 15 year old Holly Sykes who packs up and leaves home after a fight with her mother over her boy friend. Then, when she goes to the boy friends, she finds him in bed with someone else so she wanders further away. Suddenly, her reality changes and her younger brother who gave her a labyrinth comes up missing. Then, it becomes even harder to follow for me. Obviously that is not true of the people from Library Journal.

David Nicholls' Us came out at the end of September. Douglas and Connie Petersen are preparing for a trip across Europe with their 17 year old son before he leaves home for the university. Connie tells Douglas that she will be leaving also and is thinking of a divorce. Douglas thinks by planning the perfect trip, he can win back the love of his wife and repair his relationship with his son. Nothing goes as planned.

Jane Smiley's Some Luck came out in October. This made the LibraryReads October list. It is the beginning of a trilogy celebrating family farming and follows the lives of an Iowan farm family over 30 years beginning in 1920.

Lastly Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of AJ Fikry came out in April. This one also made the LibraryReads list and I loved it. It was such a delightful uplifting story. This is the story of A.J. Fikry, the grouchy owner of Island books and how it changes with just one addition.

If you haven't read one of these, perhaps this list will tempt you.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Remaining November Titles

For those that read literary novels, Richard Ford is back with a Frank Bascombe title. Bascombe was the character in 3 of his prior works including the Pulitzer Prize winning Independence Day. This title, Let Me Be Frank with You,  comes out on November 4th. Frank, now 68 is just as funny, wise and inappropriate. Now, however, he is dealing this the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and trying to reconcile a world undone by calamity.

Again for the literary minded, Ha Jin gives us a kind of literary spy thriller in A Map of Betrayal which also arrives November 4th.  Gary Shang's daughter, Lillian, going through her parents things after their deaths. She finds her father's diary and learns that Shang has been born in China and placed in a position with the American government by the Chinese Communist Party. When the Americans want him to come to the US, the Chinese pressure him to do so, leaving a wife and family behind. After years, his father spying is discovered but through the diary, Lillian learns what the life a spy who loved his home country but also loved the country that became his home, was like.

Next comes Lalita Tademy's Citizens Creek which comes out on November 4th. Tademy is the author of the Oprah Book Club Pick Cane River. This title tells the story of Cow Tom, a slave sold to a Creek Indian chief who served as a translator during the American Indian Wars and of his granddaughter who continued his striving toward freedom.

Robert Crais also has a novel coming out on November 4th, The Promise. This continues his Elvis Cole series as Cole is asked to find a missing woman and discovers that she worked for a defense contractor and was being blackmailed into supplying someone with explosives. Cole's pursuit involves his with LAPD office Scott James and his patron dog partner, Maggie from Suspect. Will they find the culprit before others are killed?

The Laws of Murder by Charles Finch in another in his Charles Lenox series and it arrive on November 11th. This series in in the British Victorian mystery genre. Lenox gives up his seat in Parliament to go back to his old career that he loved - being a private detective. He and 3 other detectives start an agency. Just when he is wondering if he is too old for the job, a close friend is murdered and he becomes involved in a case that takes him to the darker side of Victorian England and with test his abilities.

Lastly, Lisa Scottoline who has been very busy penning multiple titles, has Betrayed: A Rosato & Associates Novel coming on November 25th. This one focuses on Judy Carrier who was in one prior book in the series. She is an attorney with Rosato & DiNunzio. She is handed a complicated case, her love life falling apart and she finds out her favorite aunt has cancer. When she rushes to her side, she finds that her aunt's closest friend has been murdered and is plunged into illegal immigration, drug smuggling and more.

Okay - hopefully one or more of these will tempt you. All are in the library's collection - or will be when they are published.

Friday, October 24, 2014

LibraryReads for November

I am back from meeting my new grandson. He is adorable. My son is really enamoured with him. That was part of the fun. Anyway, I want to give you the 10 books librarians chose for the best in November.

The top vote getter was David Nicholls' Us. This title was on the long list for the Booker prize much to the surprise of many. However, as mundane as the plot may sound - those who have read it, call it superb; poignant; funny; moving and surprising. It is the story of an awkward and conventional, but loving middle-aged Englishman who embarks on a trip around Europe to save his 25 year old  marriage and his relationship with his relationship with his 17 year old son.

Now for the remaining nine titles in no particular order:

Sarah Maclean's Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover made the list. This is the 4th and last of The Rules of Scoundrels series, a very popular mass market paperback romance. Lady Georgiana's reputation is ruined before she has her first season by giving birth to an illegitimate child. She turns instead to London's dark side and becomes known as Chas, the founder of the city's most legendary gaming institution. Duncan West, a newspaper man, is intrigued and finds out everything. Will he publish his information or claim her heart?

The one nonfiction work this month is by Marilyn Johnson, Lives in Ruins: Achaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble. Johnson takes us into the real world of archaeology by interviewing and accompanying contemporary archaeologists. The hours are long, the pay is low and the jobs are few but that doesn't seem to be why they do the work. They love looking for clues to the puzzles of our past. This is a very entertaining read about a career that is very un-Indiana Jones-like.

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly is next. Another Harry Bosch tale that pairs him with an LAPD rising star. I mentioned this last entry because Connelly IS one of the big named authors. I said "Harry Bosch is back with a new partner, Lucia Soto, and he is called to investigate a crime that occurred nine years previously. Nine years ago, a stray bullet became lodged in the victim's spine which led to complications that eventually killed him. Does this remind you of any current event? How do you solve a case when the evidence is so very cold. Only Bosch knows."

Robin LaFevers has the 3rd in His Fair Assassin Trilogy coming out, Mortal Heart.  We have this title in the Teen section but it is suitable for adults also. This entry focuses on Annith who has been kept at the convent while outers go out as assassins to serve Death. She discovers that she is being groomed as a Seeress and will be sequestered forever. Feeling betrayed, she escapes and sets out on her own.

The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes is the next to make the list. Moyes has become very popular and this one might make her a major voice. In this title, she uses historical fact and journals to tell the story of 4 of the 650 brides that made the voyage to England from Australia aboard the HMS Victoria - an aircraft carrier. Those who have read it call it fantastic and tremendously involving.

Bradford Morrow has a literary thriller on the list in The Forgers. This is a tale about the dark side of the rare book world. A famous book collector, Adam Diehl, is found murdered with missing hands. His sister's lover, Will, is drawn into the investigation as a possible suspect. Will has been found guilty of forgery and is seems that Adam might have been in the same business. What dirty dealings happen when forgery of rare books is suspected? Publishers Weekly has called Morrow "one of America's major literary voices". This ought to be good.

In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon made the list. This is edited by Laurie R. King, the author of the Mary Russell/Sherlock novels and Leslie S. Klinger, a Sherlock scholar. They asked several well known authors to write either in the style of Doyle or Sherlock Holmes stories. People who have read this, loved it.

Stephanie Barron has Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas on the list. This is the 12th entry into the popular Jane Austen Mystery series. Jane and her mother and sister are spending Christmas with her brother's family at Steventon Parsonage. They are invited to visit the Vyne, where the weather and then a murder keeps them confined. Jane can't help but follow the clues.

Lastly, Lydia Millet has Mermaids in Paradise. Millet is known for her humorous fiction and short stories. This title is kind of genre bending as it starts out as chick lit - a young couple heads to the Caribbean for their honeymoon; turns into fantasy - as they go scuba diving and spot mermaids; and ends up as a heist - as they kidnap the mermaids so they can't be turned into a resort attraction. Critics who have read it call it entertaining, funny and enjoyable.

OK - those are the LibraryReads for November. I am going to squeeze in another post with some remaining titles that sound interesting to me next week. Enjoy reading!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

November's Big Names

I will be taking a break next week as I am going down to meet my new grandson. I would be remiss, however, if I didn't give you some of the major authors who are coming out with books next month. Many of you already have your names on the list I am sure.

I will start with David Baldacci who has The Escape coming out on November 18th.  This is the third novel featuring Army Special Agent John Puller. John's brother, Robert, was convicted of treason and placed in the most secure prison imaginable. Somehow, he escapes, and John is called in to track him down. Sounds like a good one to me. My name is on the list.

Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston are back with another Pendergast thriller, Blue Labyrinth, on November 11th. Pendergast's worst enemy winds up dead on his doorstep. The only clue is there is a small bit of turquoise in his stomach. Pendergast is forced to investigate his own family's dark past. Said to be a riveting tale where you turn the pages too fast.

The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke comes out on November 18th.  This is the first time these two have collaborated and this begins a series feature a TV show that revisits cold case murders. The producer, Laurie Moran, is overjoyed when an old crime is solved in their first production. When they start their next case, the death of a beautiful, talented, UCLA student, the thrills start.

Michael Connelly has Burning Room coming out on November 3rd. Harry Bosch is back with a new partner, Lucia Soto, and he is called to investigate a crime that occurred nine years previously. Nine years ago, a stray bullet became lodged in the victim's spine which led to complications that eventually killed him. Does this remind you of any current event? How do you solve a case when the evidence is so very cold. Only Bosch knows.

Patricia Cornwell has another Scarpetta novel, Flesh and Blood, coming out on November 11th. In this one Scarpetta goes after the Copperhead, a serial sniper who kills seemingly random victims with a single deadly shot. When can Scarpetta get evidence when the killer doesn't get anywhere in the vicinity.

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg are back with another Fox & O'Hare mystery, The Job on November 18th. FBI Agent Kate O'Hare is paired with the conman Nicolas Fox for the third time. This time, they are out to arrest the kingpin of an international drug smuggling ring. Expect the usual high jinx.

Revival from Stephen King comes out on November 11th. King doesn't really release his books for review before publication. He really doesn't have to do so. Just from the description, he has his fans foaming at the mouth. I happen to like Stephen King. I will read this one because I find his writing more of a characterization of people than true horror. He doesn't do much blood and guts anymore but the thrills are still there. In this one, Charles Jacob is the new preacher in town back in the 1960's. He forms an attachment to a young boy, Jamie Morton. When a tragic event strikes Jamie's family, Jacob curses god and is thrown out of the church and town. Years later, Jamie is a drug addicted musician in a bar band and he meets Charles Jacob again. Said to be a rich, disturbing novel that displays the consequences of a deal with the devil.

Lastly, the newest James Patterson, Hope to Die, comes out on November 17th. This is subtitled, The Return of Alex Cross. Cross' entire family is held hostage and Cross must comply if he wants to save them. What will Cross do to see his loved ones again?

Certainly one of these must make you want to go add your name to the list. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Remaining Oct Titles

As the last weekend in September approaches, I am going to try to jam in the rest of the October titles that I want to discuss. Some are nonfiction but most are fiction. Hope there are some that interest you in the mix.

Eric Kaplan, a co-executive producer and writer for The Big Bang Theory, has Does Santa Exist? : A Philosophical Investigation coming on Oct 16th. Kaplan is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at Berkeley so he does have knowledge to discuss this. This is really a discussion on how our beliefs are grounded and how do we know what is real. He uses sources from traditional philosophers to Monty Python. I am curious about his writing style.

The Dark Art: Undercover in the World's Most Dangerous Narco-Terror Oraganizations by Edward Follis and Douglas Century comes out on Oct 7th. Follis was with the Drug Enforcement Administration for 27 years and he was a highly decorated agent. He worked undercover to develop relationships with international drug lords. This is his memoir.

Elin Hilderbrand has penned her first holiday offering, Winter Street, which comes out on Oct 14th.
Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket's Winter Street Inn and the father of 4 adult children. He is looking forward to a nice Christmas at home with his 2nd wife and 3 of the 4 children until he finds his wife kissing the man who plays Santa Claus. Can Christmas be saved?

Chase Novak continues the tale that started in Breed with Brood which comes out on Oct 7th. This adds some horror to my list. Twins Adam and Alice are being cared for by their aunt. They were created by a fertility treatment that destroyed their parents and causes some children to become feral. As the aunt watches for any sign - a bunch of feral children are coming for them.

Hank Phillippi Ryan has become more popular with each title. Her newest in the Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan series is Truth Be Told which also comes out on Oct 7th. Ryland is digging up information about a middle class family that is evicted from their suburban homes and learns some facts about about a money making scheme. Meanwhile Brogan has reasons to doubt a man's confession to a 20 year old murder.

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain once again comes out on Oct. 7th. Riley MacPherson believed her older sister committed suicide as a teenager. Twenty years later, she returned to her fathers house after his death to clean it out and discovered that her sister was in hiding, living under an assumed name. What had happened all those years ago to make her run? What will happen if she looks for her? Sounds like a suspenseful one to me.

Marlon James spoke during BookExpo in May. He was funny and wonderfully entertaining. He has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, comes out on Oct 2nd.  This novel offers a fictional investigation of the attempted assassination of reggae star Bob Marley and travels from 1970s Jamaica, to 1980s New York and back to the Jamaica of the 1990s. Reviewers have called him a genius and this title inventive and stunning. I can only say, listening to him speak, I know it will be entertaining.

Now, for the last Oct. title (this one out again on the 7th), Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash. Rash novel Serena is moving to the big screen starring Jennifer Lawrence coming out I believe in Feb 2015. This one revolves around a brutal crime, a longtime sheriff burned out by the impact of crystal meth on his community and a female park ranger. All takes place in Appalachia as is common in Rash titles. Sounds like it has real atmosphere from an author the New York Times has called 'one of the best authors of his time'.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Long List for the Fiction National Book Award

Yesterday they announced the long list for the National Book Awards. We have nine of the ten on the list and I am not enthused about the tenth one. Unless I get requests for it, I am not going to purchase it. So, another list, this time 9 of the titles that made the list.

Molly Antopol's The UnAmericans is a short-story collection. Antopol was recognized as one of the "5 under 35" authors by the National Book Foundation in 2013. This is her debut work and is a masterful study of characterization. All the stories have political elements and range from Communist-era Prague to McCarthyism LA.

John Darnielle's Wolf in White Van is another debut work. Darnielle is the lead musician for the band the Mountain Goats. There are some who have read this who say 'they just don't get it' but most find it amazing and life changing. Life changing????? That is what at least 2 of them said. The main character is Sean Phillips - a disfigured man who loses himself in fantasy and role playing games. The consequences of this are devastating. Sean's story unfolds in reverse.

Next comes All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I have talked about this one before. This one made the May LibraryReads list. This is the story of a blind French girl and a young German male orphan - one in Paris and one in Berlin - and how they try to survive during the build up to World War II. It has been called moving, compelling and enthralling by reviewers.

Phil Klay's Redeployment is another book of short stories. Klay, a former Marine who fought in Iraq, captures the terror, boredom and occasional humor of war in his debut collection. The Washington Post called it "the most compelling depictions to date of the Iraq war, and especially of the psychic toll it continues to exact on those who fought in it.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is another one I've talked about. This one just came out on the 9th of this month and we do not have our copies in yet although they have been on order. I'm sure they will make it within a week or two.This one made the September LibraryReads list and I said " Every reviewer who has read it, praises it dramatically. People have said things like " This is a beautiful, gripping novel told by a masterful hand." It is dystopian fiction when a strain of the swine flu (called Georgia flu by the way) wipes out 99% of the world's population. The remaining people settle in outposts but the story centers on a troupe of traveling Shakespearean actors that perform at the outposts. There is the feeling that just to survive is not enough and that the apocalypse is a way to reinvent freedom."

Elizabeth McCracken has a book of short stories on the list, Thunderstruck & Other Stories. This is her first collection of stories in 20 years. Most of them deal with some kind of loss of love or loneliness. McCracken's writing has been described as exquisite and a true marvel. These stories range from a grocery store manager who obsesses about a missing women to one about a man mourning his wife. Along with the heartbreak are moments of humor.

Orfeo by Richard Powers is next. He is a frequent award winner or nominee. He even made the long list (although not the short) for the Booker Award this year for this title. This one focuses on composer Peter Els who is experimenting with inserting musical notes into the DNA of bacteria in a home microbiology lab. He draws the attention of Homeland Security and goes on the run. This is the one for those who like cerebral literary fiction.

Next comes Marilynne Robinson's Lila. These last two books are not even being published until October and they are on order but you can't read them yet. Robinson has the reputation of being the greatest novelist of our time and has won the Pulitzer, the National Book Critic Award, the Hemingway PEN award and been nominated from practically everything. This title is the final book in a trilogy set in the town of Gilead, Iowa. This one centers on Lila, a disturbed young woman who marries the local Reverend.

Lastly, Jane Smiley's Some Luck also out in October. Another LibraryReads title that we discussed.
Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction; she has chaired the judges panel for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and she has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It should not be a surprise that her next novel, Some Luck, the beginning of a trilogy celebrating family farming, made the list. Out on Oct. 7th, Smiley's first book in the trilogy follows the lives of an Iowan farm family over 30 years beginning in 1920. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

LibraryReads for October

They announced the list of the top 10 titles that librarians loved for October. It is an interesting list - some I agree with and some I would have placed a bit lower on my list. The top vote went to an author who I love.

Garth Stein wrote The Art of Racing in the Rain and if you love dogs and haven't read it - get it immediately. I LOVED that book. He has a new book coming out in Oct - well actually on September 30th but that is almost Oct. A Sudden Light  is a multi-generational family story but there is also supernatural and some mystery elements mixed into it. Stein writes exquisite prose and his character development is outstanding - not that you like everyone or maybe even anyone. This one is the story of the Riddell family, a influential logging family of the old Pacific Northwest. When Jones Riddell goes bankrupt, he and his wife decide on a trial separation and he takes his 14 year old son to the family home. Now old and decrepit, it was a mansion in it's day. Jones and his sister want to sell it to property developers but their father, suffering from dementia, wants the forest to reclaim it. There are secrets upon secrets and ghosts in this one. The story is told from the point of view of the 14 year old boy. It is pretty compelling.

Next we have Jodi Picoult, always popular with her issue related fiction. Leaving Time comes out on Oct. 14th. Jenna is a young teenage girl whose mother had disappeared after a tragic accident at an elephant sanctuary a decade earlier. She asks for help from a psychic and a retired detective because she believes firmly that her mother is still alive. If you are fascinated with elephants, this is the book for you. Jenna's mother was studying elephants grieving process and part of the story is from her point of view from her journals.

One of the two nonfiction works is next, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes arrives on Oct. 14th. For all who love the movie, this takes you behind the scenes with Elwes, Mandy Patinkin and Billy Crystal among others. Almost everyone who has read it, gives it high praise.

The next nonfiction book is Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming which comes out on Oct. 7th. Cummings, a Scottish star of stage, television and films was asked to appear on the UK's Who Do You Think You Are - meant to reveal the mystery of what had happened to his maternal grandfather after the war. One month before this, his father tells him he was not his son. Cummings had experienced a lifetime of psychological and physical abuse at the hand of this man. There were many issues to resolve and part of his healing was the writing of this book.

Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction; she has chaired the judges panel for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and she has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It should not be a surprise that her next novel, Some Luck, the beginning of a trilogy celebrating family farming, made the list. Out on Oct. 7th, Smiley's first book in the trilogy follows the lives of an Iowan farm family over 30 years beginning in 1920. Some think that this will be the book of the year.

With this next, we go from farming to horror. The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue follows his very successful The Stolen Child.  This also comes out on the 7th. Jack, a young 10 year old boy spends his time drawing pictures of monsters since an almost drowning incident three years earlier. His friend starts to notice that strange things start happening when Jack picks up a pencil. His mother starts hearing strange sounds coming from the ocean and the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred.

A debut novel by Allen Eskens, The Life We Bury, is next. This one, coming on Oct. 14th, follows a college student who has left home guilty (leaving his autistic brother with an unreliable mother) and becomes involved trying to clear the name of a dying Vietnam Vet who was convicted of murder. Reviewers called it gripping and fast paced. Sounds like a new author has been born.

Reunion by Hannah Pittard is a book I picked up at BookExpo. It isn't my usual type of read but once started, I couldn't put it down. You get so involved in the characters life, you have to read till the end. Kate learned that her estranged father has committed suicide. Her sister and brother insist that she return to Atlanta for the funeral. Personally she is dealing with having been unfaithful; her husband is requesting a divorce; and she is in massive debt. Returning east with her siblings, she is forced to look at her life and begins a healing process. This one comes out also on Oct. 7th.

Next comes Keigo Higashino's Malice on Oct. 7th. Higashino is as popular in Japan as James Patterson is here. Several of his mysteries have been published in the US and have become award nominee's in the US and he is a frequent award winner in Japan. This series features the Japanese police detective Kyoichiro Kaga. In this one Kaga investigates the murder of a best-selling author. It seems like all the logical suspects have rock-solid alibis.

On to the last of the ten but not the least, Ashley Weaver's Murder at the Brightwell which arrives on Oct. 14th. If you love Agatha Christie type mysteries, this is the one for you. Weaver's debut mystery is polished and intricate. Murder invades upper crust English society at a posh seaside resort in the 1930's. Amory Ames is disillusioned with her marriage to a playboy and agrees to help a friend and former boyfriend try to stop his sister from marrying another playboy. The prospective groom ends up dead and the friend is the suspect. This one is widely respected by reviewers as a gripping who-done-it.

Well, that is the list for this month. All are available for holds on the PAC. Have fun deciding if any of them are your 'cup of tea'.

Friday, September 12, 2014

October Titles Continued

I am going to start off this week by covering 3 new nonfiction titles with a military bent. I am not sure why this is the month for these but they seemed like they might gather some interest here in Columbus.

Yochi Dreazen has The Invisible Front: Love and Loss in an Era of Endless War coming out on Oct 7th. This is the story of Major General Mark Graham and his family. He and his wife lost both of their soldier sons within 9 months. One died in Iraq while serving his country. The other was in an ROTC program at the University of Kentucky when he committed suicide. Because of their tragic experience and the different reactions of friends and the military to the two losses, the Grahams became advocates for suicide prevention. This story is very effective and leaves you with the most respect for the Grahams.

John Nagl has Knife Fights coming out on Oct 16th. Nagl was the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam. He had realized early that traditional methods of fighting would not work against guerrillas and terrorists. Here, we get an inside look at HOW we are learning to eat soup with a knife.

Finally, on the military theme, Daniel Rodriguez with Joe Layden has Rise: A Soldier, a Dream, and a Promise Kept coming on Oct 7th. Before becoming an honor student at Clemson and a star wide receiver for their football team, Rodriguez was a soldier in Afghanistan where he won both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. He promised a friend who did not make it out of Afghanistan that he would try to fulfill his dream of big time football. His story is one of inspiration.

OK, now on to the fiction.

The Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield comes out on Oct. 14th. Two mothers come to an oil rig town in North Dakota looking for their two lost sons. The mothers and their backgrounds are as different as night and day but they must learn to work together to overcome the roadblocks that the oil company puts in their way and also the indifference of the local police force. A wonderful sense of place and good character development as well as a mystery to solve.

If you have read either of Robert Olen Butler's first 2 Christopher Marlowe Cobb WWI thrillers, you will for sure want to pick up his third in the series. The Empire of Night arrives on Oct. 7th. Cobb, the Chicago journalist turned into a spy for American intelligence is sent to 1917 Berlin to find a mole inside the British government. The person the government pairs him with happens to be his stage actress mother.

John Connolly has the 12th of his Charlie Parker series, The Wolf in Winter, coming out on Oct. 28th. The people in Prosperous Maine are, well, prosperous and they like it that way. After a homeless man is killed and his daughter goes missing, Charlie Parker comes to town to investigate and the town people feel threatened. They don't want their secrets uncovered. How far will they go to stop Parker?

Last for this week is an espionage title by Matthew Dunn. Dark Spies arrives on Oct. 7th. Dunn is a former senior field operative with MI6 so his work is very true to life in this series featuring Will Cochrane. Cochrane comes to the US and sees a Russian spymaster who's supposed to be dead. He has trouble understanding why the CIA tells him not to take a shot at the guy. Will he listen? Doubtful. If he doesn't, what will happen.

Enjoy! Back with more next week.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

October Blockbusters

October is a very popular publishing month and in addition, it is the month where Christmas titles start to arrive. There are reams of books being published and some of them are by the A-list authors that people love. This week, I will cover as many of those as I can.

Debbie Macomber has her latest Christmas novel, Mr. Miracle, coming on Oct 7th. Angel-in-training Harry Mills poses as a teacher to help a community college student find her way. This one will be made into a Hallmark movie next fall.

Danielle Steel's latest, Pegasus, arrives on Oct 28th. Definitely not a Christmas story, this follows the fortunes of two German families during World War II. Close friends and widowers discover they must go their separate ways when one discovers his mother was Jewish. He escapes with his family to the United States and brings with him as a gift from the remaining friend, Lipizzaner stallions. A story of friendship, sacrifice and rebirth.

Clive and Dirk Cussler give us the 23rd Dirk Pitt novel, Havana Storm, on Oct 28th. Pitt is investigating a toxic outbreak in the Caribbean while his children chase an Aztec stone that supposedly was lost with the sinking of the Maine. All end up in Cuba and in trouble with a post-Castro power struggle. The usual action and adventure from Cussler.

Dick Francis's Damage has Felix Francis following in his father's footsteps. This title arrives on Oct 7th. There has been some illegal doping of horses and the Racing Authority asks Jeff Hinkley to investigate. Felix worked with his father and has been continuing the horse racing mysteries since Dick Francis's death in 2010.

Deadline is John Sandford's 8th Virgil Flowers title. It arrives on October 7th. Flowers is investigating a local dognapping ring where the dogs are sold to medical labs. He is called in to investigate the killing of a local reporter. Strangely enough, in private session, the school board authorized the killing of the reporter by a vote of 4 to 1.

Also continuing a series from a deceased author, Tilly Bagshawe has Sidney Sheldon's Chasing Tomorrow arriving on Oct. 7th. This title continues the saga of Tracy Whitney, the thief that won people's hearts - stealing form the rich and greedy. She has one last plan in mind before retiring with partner Jeff for marriage and a child. Unfortunately, the past has a way of catching up.

The 31st Stone Barrington novel, Paris Match, arrives on Oct 7th also. Stone finds himself in Paris taking care of some local business when an old nemesis finds him. Then, the rumor mill back in the States threaten not only Stone, but the country. Stone is attacked on all sides but I bet he finds his way out.

John Grisham has his next blockbuster coming out on Oct 21st, Gray Mountain. A law associate, Samantha Kofer, is laid off and ends up at a legal aid clinic in Appalachia. Her new job takes her into the murky world of coal mining. Grisham attacks real world issues of the environment and the economy in this one.

We will stop there this week. There lots more by the next tier authors that I am excited about but that will come later. Enjoy thinking about these.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Last of September Titles Before September Arrives

There are a handful of titles that might interest some of you that I want to tell you about before September actually gets here.

Lauren Beukes has another genre blending fantasy-thriller title, Broken Monsters. coming on September 16th. Beukes who gave us The Shining Girls about a time travelling serial killer, now visits a Detroit detective who discovers the body of a half-boy/half deer or rather, half a boy sewn to half a deer. It is violent and dark but some say it is a timely portrait of the death of the American dream.

Jens Lapidus has Life Deluxe coming also on September 16th. This is the last of his Stockholm Noir trilogy. Lapidus is a Swedish defense lawyer so he knows his Swedish crime. This is also a fairly dark and violent book. Someone is trying to knock down the top dog of the Swedish underworld. You can only imagine what happens after that.

Andrew Mayne, a magician and star of an A & E show, has Angel Killer coming on September 23rd. This title was a best seller as a self published ebook. Someone hacks into the FBI's website to post a code disclosing the coordinates of a cemetery where a dead girl's body is seen rising from the grave. Jessica Blackwood was a talented illusionist before leaving that career behind to become an FBI agent. Magic and murder. Sounds interesting.

Another self-published ebook author who has transitioned to a publishing house, Darcie Chan has The Mill River Redemption coming on August 26th - yes - it has already been published but is still on order in our catalog so I'm including it. Her first in the Mill River series,  The Mill River Rescue, was the self published ebook that got her noticed. A mother stipulates in her will that her two estranged daughters must work together to find the key that will open her lock box. Recommended for fans of Maeve Binchy.

Alix Christie is a first time novelist and Gutenberg's Apprentice arrives on September 23rd. For those who enjoy historical fiction, this novel is about Peter Schoeffer who was an apprentice to Johann Gutenberg and the founder of the Frankfurt Book Fair.  Really for those who want to read about this time period and the invention of the printing press. The author stays true to fact and perhaps isn't as much into character development.

Lastly, Lin Enger, a James Michener Award winner, has The High Divide also coming on September 23rd. Another work of historical fiction but this one has much more emotional content and character development.  Gretta Pope awakes one morning in 1886 Minnesota to find her husband, Ulysses, gone with just a brief note saying nothing about the why and the where. Shortly after that, her two boys disappear, leaving to go in search of their father. Gretta has to find her sons and the reason for the leaving. This tale stretches from Minnesota, across the Dakotas and Montana plains. This work is not just a western but the story of a family. It has been highly recommended by all the reviewers who have read it. If you are missing the works of James Michener, try this one. It is suppose to be GOOD.

Next week, we will move to the October releases. I hope you find something you want to read during September.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

More September Titles

There are some interesting titles coming out in September by some lesser known authors.

David Cronenberg is a Canadian move director who specializes in 'body horror' or psychological horror. He has directed two of Robert Pattinson's  latest films. On September 30th he has a debut novel arriving, Consumed. I am always kind of fascinated by these successful people in one field who late in life, decide to become authors. This one sounds kind of like a horror film and I don't suggest reading it if extreme, off color incidents bother you. Two competing photojournalists, Naomi and Nathan, are in some sort of relationship. At least, they meet in hotel rooms when they are in the same city. Both go their separate ways, Nathan to do a story on breast surgery in Budapest and Naomi to focus on a French philosophy professor who has apparently killed and eaten his wife. Strangely enough, their stories are closely intertwined. That should give you a flavor of what you are getting into if you decide you want to read this one.

On September 9th, James Ellroy has Perfidia coming out. This is his first book in a second "L.A. Quartet" for those who read 'The Black Dahlia; The Big Nowhere; L.A. Confidential; and White Jazz). This one actually starts before the first, on December 6, 1941 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor and internment of Japanese Americans. It blends together war, romance and mystery. The story revolves around the brutal murder of a Japanese family on the day BEFORE the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. He explores the theses of fidelity and betrayal on many levels. If you liked the 1st Quartet - this one will be a must read.

Tedd Moss was the deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of African Affairs when he was attempting to write his first novel, The Golden Hour. The title, which comes out on September 4th, concerns the 100 hours after a coup takes place when diplomacy or military action MIGHT make a difference. It features Judd Ryker, appointed director of the newly formed State Department Crisis Reaction Unit when a coup erupts in Mali.  Ryker races from location to location, not know who to trust or what is REALLY going on. Suspenseful and a quick read according to reviewers.

On September 2nd, Faye Kellerman's next Peter Decker novel, Murder 101, finally arrives. Peter Decker has left L.A. for the upstate New York's Greenbury Police Department. Wanting a slower way of life, he was becoming bored until some Tiffany panels at the town mausoleum were replaced by forgeries AND a college co-ed was found dead.

Lastly for this week, Jussi Adler-Olsen has the next Department Q story, The Marco Effect coming on September 9th. Adler-Olsen is one of those Danish crime writers that have become so popular in this country. In this title, Detective Carl Morck and his colleagues get caught up in a missing persons case that touches on Marco Jameson, a 15 year old teen rebelling against his powerful Gypsy uncle.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

September Titles

I am going to start off this week talking about 2 nonfiction titles. I am not a big nonfiction reader but these two titles have caught my interest.

On September 25, Terry Pratchett, the creator of Discworld, is coming out with a collection of nonfiction essays, A Slip of the Keyboard. This is a man who has stepped out from the shadows in support of some causes to include Alzheimer's research and animal rights. He writes with passion for causes, humor, and humanity about things as varied as mushrooms, banana daiquiris and the writing life. I might have to read this one.

The next nonfiction is written by Tavis Smiley. I heard him speak and was entranced - no surprise as he speaks on television and NPR, but he is very approachable in person. His title, Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year, comes out on September 9th. I had not realized how discouraging that last year must have been for him. He was brushed aside by President Johnson and was being challenged by the press, African American militants and members of the middle class. I believe it will be eye opening.

Robert Jackson Bennett may not be a name you are familiar with but then again, maybe you are. He has won an Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award and a Philip K Dick citation. On September 9th, he has City of Stairs coming which is both high fantasy and suspense. Once a conquering city, Bulikov has become a colonial outpost. The powers that be send Shara Divani to take up a modest post but in actuality, she is a spy sent to investigate the murder of a historian.

Christina Dodd is probably best known for her romance but on September 9th, she definitely is taking a step to suspense with Virtue Falls. Elizabeth Banner has grown up believing that her father murdered her mother when she was only 4. When she comes home to Virtue Falls as an adult, she does some investigating and decides her father was innocent and that her mother was the victim of a serial killer who is still at large.

How I didn't put this on the big name list for September, I don't know but Philippa Gregory has the final entry in the "Cousins' War" series coming on September 9th. The King's Curse has Margaret Pole becoming lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon as she marries her dead husband's brother, Henry VIII. A really popular series with those who read historical fiction.

Deborah Crombie gives us To Dwell in Darkness on September 23rd. This is the latest in the Duncan Kincaid-Gemma James series for those who enjoy mysteries with a British touch. Duncan investigates a lethal bombing at St. Pancras Station.

Lastly, for this time, Julie Lawson Timmer has a debut novel, Five Days Left coming on September 9th. It is a novel about love and loss and has attracted all sorts of raves. Mara, a lawyer, is losing her battle with a fatal disease and plans to say good-bye quickly. Scott, a middle school teacher, has been raising an 8 year old boy whose mother was in prison. The mother is being released and Scott is dreading saying good-bye. Both Mara and Scott have five days left with their loved ones. This one sounds like it might make me cry so I don't know. However one reviewer said that it was "profoundly affecting, memorable and insightful". She also said it made a big impression on her and that she wasn't going to be able to get it out of her head for a really long time. Almost makes me want to try it. How about you?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

LibraryReads for September

The top 10 titles being released in September according to librarians across the country were announced Monday. There are a few in this list that surprised me. Particularly the top vote getter - not because I had not ordered it but just because......

Top title went to Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by debut author Caitlin Doughty comes out on September 15th. Part memoir, part expose of the death industry and part instruction manual for aspiring morticians - a quirky, humorous in part story for fans of Mary Roach.

The remaining nine in no particular order are:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel comes on September 9th. I am amazed that this did not get top listing. Every reviewer who has read it, praises it dramatically. People have said things like " This is a beautiful, gripping novel told by a masterful hand." It is dystopian fiction when a strain of the swine flu (called Georgia flu by the way) wipes out 99% of the world's population. The remaining people settle in outposts but the story centers on a troupe of traveling Shakespearean actors that perform at the outposts. There is the feeling that just to survive is not enough and that the apocalypse is a way to reinvent freedom.

Tana French publishes The Secret Place on August 28th (that's almost September). This is the fifth in the Dublin Murder Squad series. In this one the murder squad takes on the world of teenage girls when one comes forward with evidence from a murder. Tension-filled - really makes you look at friendship.

Lauren Oliver has written several very popular teen books but on September 23rd, she comes out with her first adult novel, Rooms. When an estranged family comes back to a home after the father's death, they must learn to deal with the past and move on BUT in on the whole conversation are two ghosts who live in the walls of the old house. Both the living and the dead are haunted by painful truths. Said to be a searing family drama.

Ian McEwan gives us The Children Act on September 9th. Most except this to win a Booker nomination (it will not qualify this year as the long list is already out) so literary fiction lovers give this a try. Judge Fiona Maye is having marriage problems and her husband has moved out because she refused the idea of an open marriage. She concentrates on her work and becomes deeply involved - maybe too involved. A 17 year old boy and his parents are refusing allowing doctor's to give the boy a blood infusion for religious reasons. A poignant tale.

Helen Giltrow has The Distance, her debut, coming on September 9th. A tense thriller about a socialite who is a hidden tech guru in secret. Only one person has ever seen her in her 'secret' persona - and that person needs her for a job that could get them both in trouble or even dead. Everyone has layers, everyone is living some kind of double life, and everyone says that this is an edge of your seat read.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix arrives on September 23rd. It takes place in an IKEA type store where things are being damaged at night. 5 young employees are asked to work a dusk to dawn shift to find out what or who is happening. This is a horror story which is laid out like an IKEA catalog. Everyone has praised the inventiveness of the layout and the growth of the characters over the night. One reviewer said "This story is super creepy, has a lot of surprises, is clever and funny, AND left me in deep thought." Sounds like a winner to me.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters comes on September 16th. Waters has been short listed for the Booker prize 3 times so perhaps we have another possible nominee here. Her specialty is historical fiction and this one fits the bill. After WWI, many homes lost their husbands and brothers. An impoverished widow, Mrs. Wray, and her 'spinster daughter, Frances are forced to take in lodgers. The arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a lower class couple with marriage problems, shake up the house in unexpected ways. One reviewer says "A love story, a tension-filled crime story, and a beautifully atmospheric portrait of a fascinating time and place, The Paying Guests is Sarah Waters's finest achievement yet."

Kim Harrison's The Witch with No Name which arrives on September 9th is another surprise for me. I think it is unusual for an urban fantasy novel to make the list but I guess there are a lot of people who like it and this is the very last book in her Hollows series so perhaps it is the ending of the series that made it this popular. Rachel Morgan and all her friends face their toughest battle yet.

Lastly, Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley is being republished on September 2nd. Originally, this was published back in 2001. More of a romance than a suspense, actress Celia Sands takes a role in the modern day, that another Celia Sands (no relation) was suppose to play. Italy, romance and a small amount of suspense.

OK - hopefully there are a few in here for you. I have 3 more on my TBR pile.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Big Names in September

I am starting with a nonfiction title this month because Steve Harvey has been so tremendously popular with Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man that his new one Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success may get the same reaction. This title is coming on September 8th and tries to help readers identify their particular talents and use them well.

Margaret Atwood is coming out with her first collection of short stories since 2006. This one, Stone Mattress: Nine Tales arrives on September 16. Atwood has been very popular with The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace among many others and is sure to be popular with those who read literary fiction.

Ken Follett wraps up his "Century" trilogy with Edge of Eternity on September 16. It follows the five entwined families (American, German, Russian, English and Welsh) up through the end of the century. His eye for historical detail is amazing and the plots are always fast moving. Those who have read the first two are sure to want this one.

Walter Mosley gives us another Easy Rawlins mystery with Rose Gold which arrives on September 23. Think Patty Hearst era when a black ex-boxer heads a revolutionary cell, Scorched Earth, that kidnaps the daughter of an arms manufacturer. The FBI asks Easy to get involved.

James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge have another Michael Bennett thriller coming on September 29. Burn has Bennett coming back to New York City to take over the Outreach Squad in Harlem. A call reports well dressed men attending a party in a condemned building and then a charred body is found inside. Fast paced as usual.

Blood on the Water by Anne Perry continues her William Monk series. For those who like British historical mysteries, Perry is a must read. Monk views the explosion of a pleasure boat carrying over 200 people who die. Monk should have handled the investigation but it was turned over to the commissioner of the Metro Police who quickly caught and tried an Egyptian man who is sentenced to die. Monk presents evidence that he was not the one who committed the crime. The investigation is then turned over to Monk but is in horrible disarray. Perry has made the bestseller list with her last 3 Monk titles. Will this one make it too?

We have not heard from Jan Karon for a while and on September 2, she gives us Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good: The New Mitford Novel. Father Tim returns to Mitford after his retirement and vacation in Ireland. He brings and attracts those who are struggling with issues. There hasn't been a Mitford novel since 2005. Let's see how this goes.

Jonathan Kellerman joins his son, Jesse Kellerman to give us The Golem of Hollywood on September 16.
This is still a fast paced thriller but it adds in some mystical incidents dealing with The Golem of Prague (created by a 16th century rabbi to avenge the Jews). Detective Jacob Lev is the new protagonist and he is assigned to a murder in the Hollywood Hills that has left behind only the severed head. He ties this into a serial killer who practices his killing across the country.

Hilary Mantel has won award after award for her Thomas Cromwell series (Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies). On September 30, she gives us some short stories in The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and Other Stories. While waiting for her completion of the series, you might want to give these a try.

Lee Child has another Jack Reacher novel coming on September 2. Personal has the army tracking Reacher down again because someone is taking shots at the French President. There is only one person who could be doing it and Reacher is the only one who can stop him. Reacher fans rejoice.

Clive Cussler also has The Eye of Heaven coming on September 2. Sam and Remi Fargo uncover a Viking ship preserved in ice and carrying pre-Colombian artifacts from Mexico. As they try to figure out how this could be, they find themselves being chased through the jungles of Central America by all sorts of people up to no good.

Catherine Coulter has another 'Brit in the FBI' titles written with J.T. Ellison coming out on September 30. The Lost Key has FBI Agent Nicolas Drummond and partner Mike Caine investigating a Wall Street stabbing death.

Finally, and perhaps this isn't the biggest name but an interesting idea that puts her on this list, Sophie Hannah. Hannah was approached by Agatha Christie's estate about writing a new Christie mystery. The Monogram Murders arrives on September 9. Hannah has chosen to write a Hercule Poirot novel. A puzzle mystery indeed which starts when a young women interrupts Poirot's supper to tell him she is going to be killed. Sounds interesting to me and I have put it on my list.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Wow - a List of the Rest of August Titles

Once again, time has gotten ahead of me. This was suppose to be done last weekend, but instead - I added 2 dogs to my household and couldn't make myself leave them alone at home that long. So here I am with a long list of titles and a short synopsis of what they are about before moving on to the September books.

Robin Hobb has Fool's Assassin coming out on Aug. 12 for those who read fantasy. I happen to have read Hobb's Assassin series and this is a continuation of this work. It is very good - if you like that type of thing. FitzChivalry has left his royal assassin job behind, living in the country with his wife. Unexpectedly, even though she is beyond child bearing years, she finds herself pregnant. All the family think this is in her mind, not a fact. The resulting child is different in many ways and really the focus of this new series.

Terry Goodkind has Severed Souls out on Aug. 5. This is a continuation of his very popular Seeker of Truth series. Richard Rahl and his wife, Mother Confessor Kahlan Amnell continue their adventures. Once again for those who prefer fantasy over reality.

Before, During, After by Richard Bausch comes out on Aug. 12. Bausch has won most of the literary awards for his work. This one focuses on a Congressional Aide and an Episcopal priest who are engaged. Before their wedding, the priest appears to be lost in 9/11 and the Aide has a traumatic experience in Jamaica. Although they come back together, can their life ever be the same? This one falls into the literary fiction genre.

Graham Joyce has The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit coming on Aug. 5. Joyce writes in the psychological drama/horror mode. In this title, David takes a job at a beach resort where his biological father disappeared 15 years earlier.  Weird things start happening and then things get really scary.

Now on to the true suspense/mystery genre. Elizabeth Little has Dear Daughter coming on July 31. Jane Jenkins was in prison for 10 years after being found guilty of killing her mother. On her release, she begins to track down the real killer. Her investigation leads her to South Dakota where she discovers her mother had secrets that she buried deep.

Don't Look Back is coming from Gregg Hurwitz on Aug. 19. On a rafting and hiking tour, Eve Hardaway spots a man throwing machetes at something. Then she discovers the camera and pill bottle of a missing woman. I think you can guess what follows.

Arnaldur Indridason has a new Icelandic Inspector Erlendur novel coming on Aug. 26. In Strange Shores, the Inspector is hunting for two people who vanished long age - one being his brother who was lost in a snowstorm.

William Kent Krueger, after the success of Ordinary Grace, on Aug 19 has gone back to his Cork O'Connor series with Windigo Island. The residents of Bad Bluff reservation blame the Windigo, a mythical beast, for the battered body of a girl washed up on the shores of Lake Superior. Cork though, blames sex trafficking that has increased in the area.

One of my personal favorites, Spencer Quinn, returns with Chet and Bernie in Paw and Order on Aug. 5. I have this one on my list already and can't wait. Bernie is arrest while visiting his girlfriend in DC. I LOVE Chet. But then remember I have 2 new residents in my household.

As long as I am on a dog trend here, I throw in Ellen Cooney's The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Changes which arrives on Aug. 5. Evie signs up for dog-training school at the Sanctuary but finds herself being the one rescued. A must read for dog lovers.

Certainly with this many titles, there must be something that interests you. Enjoy!