Best Sellers

Thursday, May 22, 2014

June Titles

Next week I am headed to New York City to attend Book Expo. Hopefully I will come back with new authors and titles to tell you about. I will not be able to publish another blog until June 2nd when I return though so store up the titles today.

David Guterson, the author of Snow Falling on Cedars, has Problems with People coming out on June 3rd. This contains 10 short stories that focus on people's deep need for connections with others. Guterson started his literary career with short stories and this is his return to the format with which he excels.

Jennifer Murphy has her debut novel, I Love You More, coming out on June 17th. Picasso Lane is twelve years old when her father, Oliver, is murdered at their summer home. Picasso knows more than she is telling about her father's life. Picasso's mother is the prime suspect until the police discover that Oliver had 2 more wives. Even though everyone is denying knowing this, Picasso knows this isn't true. Much excitement about this one.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, a debut author, comes out on June 26th. Set in small town Ohio in the mid-1970's, it examines the lives of a Chinese-American family after the death of a favored child. Critics have called it beautifully written, poignant, touching and captivating.

Megan Abbott has The Fever coming out on June 17th. This is the story of an epidemic that begins plaguing only the girls in one high school causing seizures and hallucinations. A community wide panic results as more and more girls succumb. Said to be a tight and haunting story and one reviewer called it compelling, lyrical and urgent.

Alafair Burke has All Day and a Night coming out on June 10th.  This is the fifth in the Ellie Hatcher series. Hatcher and her partner, J.J. Rogan, are tapped to take a fresh look at the conviction of a serial killer serving time for a total of six murders from 20 years ago. Alternating chapters are told by Carrie Blank, the half-sister of one of the victims and currently a defense attorney on the case.

Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner comes out on June 26th. Harper Flynn is tending bars the night that an attack and firebombing occurs at an LA club. Her boyfriend is killed and police think that the 2 attackers were killed in the fire at the club. Harper thinks a third man escaped. The only person who will listen to her is Aiden Garrison, an ex sheriff's deputy who was injured that night. They start a hunt but discover that secrets could kill them. Fast-paced. Reviews say it is a can't-put-it-down book with an ending you won't see coming.

David Ignatius has The Director coming out on June 2nd. A thriller of political intrigue and spy craft. Newly appointed CIA director Graham Weber has only been in place for one week when he discovers that the CIA has been hacked. Unsure of where to turn, he enters the world of cyberespionage. That is a scary place to be.

Another novel of political intrigue, this one by debut novelist Matthew Palmer. The American Mission arrives on June 26th. Palmer has spent 20 years in the U.S. Foreign service so he knows what he is writing. Alex Baines has been stripped of his security clearance in a debacle in Darfur. His mentor offers him a chance to start over in the Congo and Baines jumps at it. On arriving, he finds a shady U.S. based mining company everywhere he turns and struggles to balance the best interests of the US and the fate of the Congo and it's people.

A novel that has been getting a lot of play from reviewers is The Farm by Tom Rob Smith. Daniel's parents have left England and retired to a farm in Sweden. Until he receives a frantic phone call from his father, he believed his parents were headed into a well-deserved retirement. After the call, he is caught between his parents, unsure of who is telling the truth and who he can trust. Daniel's mother implicates his father in a horrible crime and a conspiracy.

Lastly, Chevy Stevens new novel, That Night, is coming out on June 17th. Toni Murphy and he boyfriend were wrongly convicted of the murder of her younger sister Nicole. 17 years later, they get out on parole and instructed not to contact each other. Ryan, the boyfriend, is convinced they can find the real killers. The nasty, bullying girls from high school are still nasty and still bullying. They have their own secrets and prefer that Toni and Ryan not discover them.

OK - that should give you some choices for next month. I will see you again after June 2nd.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The June LibraryReads List

The June LibraryReads list came out this week. Once again, these are the top ten books published in June that librarians across the country love. All have been ordered for our library. There are several that I agree with enthusiastically. Speaking of that, I read the top pick for the April LibraryReads list, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikrey. It was DELIGHTFUL! I loved it. It was an easy read and I highly recommend it. Anyway, on with this list.

The top pick is Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. This title is both a mystery and a portrayal of the frightening experience of memory loss. The story is told by Maud, a woman who is suffering from dementia. Maud is looking for her friend Elizabeth, who might or might not be missing. You get a feeling for what happens in an affected brain, how it switches between past and present and how that makes it impossible for someone to realize what is happening around them. This story line is very intense but there is humor too. Reviewers have loved this one.

The rest:

China Dolls by Lisa See. It is set in 1938 San Francisco and follows the lives of three young women up through World War II. Helen, Ruby, and Grace meet while auditioning for dancers at the Forbidden City, a nightclub near Chinatown. Although they come from different backgrounds, they become fast friends and navigate the world of prejudice. The novel is written in the first person by all three with different chapters by each individual. The story ends 50 years later when they reunited for a 50th Anniversary show at the Forbidden City. It is said to be rich in atmosphere and period details with wonderfully deep character development. Critics love this title.

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. More historical fiction, this one dealing with Malka, a Russian immigrant girl who was run over and crippled by an ice vendor's horse. Her family abandoned her but the Italian ice vendor adopted her and put her to work. Here her destiny was shaped and the smart, sarcastic, unattractive, crippled Malka became Lillian, Catholic, educated and shrewd, tenacious and driven to be a success. She learns all about the family ice business and marries Albert Dunkle eventually becoming the "Ice Cream Queen". She presents a motherly, fun loving image but in reality she is scheming, lying and drinks too much. When her worlds collide, she has some thinking to do.

I  Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum. This debut novel covers the high and low points of a marriage. Richard Haddon, an artist, is fresh off an affair. Ann, his sophisticated wife and the mother of his daughter, discovers the extent of the affair. Richard must win back his family while both struggle with the pain.

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand. Dabney Kimball Beech is a 48 year old fifth generation Nantucketer. She loves the island and refuses to leave. Her high school sweetheart left to take a journalist position but she refused, raising their daughter by herself. Eventually she marries a Harvard professor. Dabney's talent is matchmaking and she has several long lasting marriages to her credit. When she is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she tries to find matches for all the people close to her. A tearjerker.

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch. Koch's last book, The Dinner, was extremely well reviewed. This title follows Marc Schlosser, a very unlikeable doctor to the rich and famous. One of his patients, Ralph Meier, and actor, invites Marc and his family on a holiday. Ralph ends up dead and the medical board accuses Marc of negligence while Ralph's wife accuses him of murder. What is the story behind this twisted tale?

The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner. A story with a strong sense of place. Loosewood Island is a fictional place somewhere between Canada and the U.S. The family that has run a lobster fishing company for generations, the Kings, reach a point when an heir to the business must be names. Woody King, the patriarch, has three daughters. The oldest, Cordelia, loves the way of life, the company and the work. She is determined to carry on her family's legacy and is prepared to fight the local drug smuggling gang for the right to do so. The story has some flavor of Shakespeare's King Lear.

The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank. I just spoke of this last week. This is what I said: "Frank's specialty is sense of place and the place is the Lowcounty in Carolina. Friends since the first day of college, Ashley Anne Waters and Mary Beth Smythe are living in Ashley's parents Sullivan Island beach house rent free. Ashley knows her mother would be appalled at the idea of holding catered parties on the first floor so she doesn't tell her. Liz is dealing with her mother. This story of 3 generations of different families is warm and funny and true." The reviewers say it is perfect for summer reading.

The Quick by Lauren Owen. Some of the things that have been said about this upcoming debut are:
"An astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London" and also it was named as one of the top 10 literary fiction books of the season by Publishers Weekly.  Although hard to describe this book is a Victorian Gothic with parts adventure and detective novel. It takes place in London in the last 1800's when a poet goes missing and his sister comes to London to try to find him.

Lastly, Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. This anthology features some of the most well known fantasy/suspense authors of today. Martin adds a tale from the Game of Thrones series, Gillian Flynn has a short story, Garth Nix of The Art of Racing in the Rain is in there. There are 21 total. I want to read it.

So, we have things we can read in June. I can't wait for some of them - how about you?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

June's Big Name Offerings

June is a big publishing month. Some of the big name authors have new titles coming out and those are the ones I will cover this week.

Rita Mae Brown, co-authored of course with her cat Sneaky Pie Brown, has Nine Lives to Die coming on June 24th. This one is said to be much better than the last few. It's Christmas season and Harry, her husband Fair, and Mrs. Murphy - the feline detective, uncover an old mystery and two mysterious deaths of local men. Revisit your friends from Crozet, Virginia - both two footed and four footed.

Janet Evanovich's Top Secret Twenty-One already has holds on it. Evanovich is so popular that there are no review copies out there so I can only describe the plot by what the publisher says. "Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day's work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur's wild bucket list." Expect to laugh out loud. This arrives on June 17th.

Linda Fairstein has Terminal City coming out on June 17th also. Series stalwart Alex Cooper, Manhattan assistant district attorney for the Sex Crimes Unit, finds dark secrets in Grand Central Station. Also has no review copies out. Fairstein though has been growing in popularity and this is the 16th in the series.

Dorothea Benton Frank's The Hurricane Sisters comes out on June 3rd. Frank's specialty is sense of place and the place is the Lowcounty in Carolina. Friends since the first day of college, Ashley Anne Waters and Mary Beth Smythe are living in Ashley's parents Sullivan Island beach house rent free. Ashley knows her mother would be appalled at the idea of holding catered parties on the first floor so she doesn't tell her. Liz is dealing with her mother. This story of 3 generations of different families is warm and funny and true.

Diana Gabaldon has Written in My Own Heart's Blood finally coming out on June 10th. This work was originally scheduled for last December and then March so it must have taken some editing.This is the 8th in the Outlander series and those who love the series have been waiting 5 years. This one takes place in revolutionary Philadelphia. Expect the usual goings on.

Eric Van Lustbader has the next in the Bourne series coming on June 10th also. Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Ascendancy has Bourne being kidnapped by terrorists and placed in an underground bunker. More suspense and unthinkable decisions for Bourne.

James Patterson and David Ellis have Invisible coming out on June 23rd. Emmy Dockery believes that hundreds of unsolved cases are linked. No one believes her so she takes leave from her job as an FBI researcher to find proof. Even her ex-boyfriend thinks she is crazy - that is until she find proof. This is another one with no review copies. There are lots of Patterson readers out there waiting for this one.

Our own Georgia author, Karin Slaughter, has Cop Town coming out on June 24th. This is a stand alone and concerns Kate Murphy, an young policewoman in 1974 in Atlanta. This has been optioned by Warner Horizon for a TV series so expect big things here.

Lastly, Stephen King has his first hard-boiled detective tale, Mr. Mercedes, coming on June 3rd. A stolen Mercedes repeatedly drives into a line of unemployed folks waiting to get into a job fair. The driver liked this feeling of power and decides he will kill thousands with a bomb. A hard edged detective, Bill Hodges, is trying to find this maniac before he takes his next step. 

Surely there are one of these that interests you. I know I have added a few to my holds list.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Agatha Award Winners from Saturday Night

Interesting. I guess since last year was Louise Penny's year to win everything, this year was not even though most critics said How the Light Gets In was her best so far. That's OK really, she was up against some tough competition this year. This year, the Agatha Award but Best Contemporary Mystery was given to:

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan. This is the second in her Jane Ryland series. In this title Jane is tipped by an ex-colleague who is trying to find her birth mother that an adoption agency is engaged in reuniting birth parents with the wrong children. Meanwhile, detective Jake Brogan are investigating a young woman's brutal murder that results in two toddlers being shuttled into the foster care system. Then Jake finds an empty cradle at the murder scene - WHERE is the baby????? Their investigations once again bring them on the same twisted path.

The Best Historical Mystery was awarded to:
A Question of Honor by Charles Todd. Todd is a writing partnership between a mother and son. This is the 5th in the Bess Crawford series. Crawford is a World War I nurse and amateur sleuth who is serving on the battlefields in France. An injured Indian sergeant tells her something that has her investigating an old murder that occurred during her childhood in India. In following the clues, she goes down a dark path that makes her wonder how facts can lie.

Finally, the Best First Mystery Award was given to:
Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz. This is the first in a series entitled Food Lover's Village Mystery.
Erin Murphy is called back by her mother to take over her family's century-old general store. She turns it into a gourmet market filled with local delicacies and to celebrate the makeover has organized a town festival. All is going well until a former employee of her mother's is found dead behind the store. A rival chef starts rumors and Erin needs to investigate before her mother ends up behind bars and the store winds up in hot water.

All three can be found in the library's catalog although Budewitz's title is on order and should be in within the week. Enjoy.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Edgar Winners

The winners of the Edgar Awards were announced last night in New York City. I guess the biggest news was that Louise Penny DIDN'T win. The Agatha Awards will be announced tomorrow night. Penny is up for that one too so we will see if she succeeds there.

The Edgar Winner for Best Novel was:
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. Set in a small town in Minnesota in 1961 and told from the point of view of a 13 year old boy recounted 40 years later, this is actually a story of what tragedy does to the boy, his family and the small town. There are many deaths that summer - accidents, suicides and murder. Reviewers have been very vocal in their praise of Krueger's strong time and place in this title comparing it to works like A River Runs Through It and Montana 1948.

The Edgar Winner for Best First Novel was:
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. This surprises me a little as I really liked both Reconstructing Amelia. Red Sparrow though has been described as a really good spy thriller in the same vein as an early Le Carre. A Russian intelligence officer, Dominika Egorova becomes a trained seductress in the service. She is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first tour CIA officer. Their love affair and twisted spy game comes to a deadly conclusion.

The Edgar Winner for Best Paperback Original was:
Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood. Stephen King described it this way "Bel and Jade are the 11-year-old girls, do dubbed by the British press when they're convicted of murdering a 4-year-old left in their care. Finally paroled, they're told they must never see each other again. Years later, with new lives, they come together in a run-down seaside amusement park where a killer is running wild. The suspense keeps the pages flying, but what sets this one apart is the palpable sense of onrushing doom." There is no way I could describe this title any better.

All three are available in the library. Enjoy. I'll be back with the Agatha winner early next week.