Best Sellers

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!