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Friday, April 8, 2016

May LibraryReads List

The May LibraryReads list came out today. There are some good ones on here but one of the ones I voted for did not make it.Rats. The top of the list is Britt_Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. Backman is a Swedish author who writes novels about quirky characters kind of like Alexander McCall Smith or even Mitch Albom. In this one, Britt Marie is an unhappy sixty three year old woman who walks out on her cheating husband after 40 years. She is obsessed with order and organization and is forced to take a job in a downtrodden town taking care of the recreation center. It is a tale of second beginnings and friendship.

Next, in no particular order is:

Joe Hill and The Fireman - in case you haven't heard, Hill is the son of Stephen King. He also writes in the horror genre although he does some graphic novels also. His work is generally character driven and his characters are flawed but likeable. This one features Harper Grayson, a nurse, who helps to treat victims of a spore which infects people cause first black and gold marks on their bodies until their bodies burst into flames- Draco Incendia Trychophyton - Dragonscale . When Grayson develops Dragonscale, she also finds out she is pregnant. The Fireman comes to her rescue and takes her to a place where the infected have to learn to live with the disease. Unfortunately, people are hunting them.

 Chris Cleave has Everyone Brave is Forgiven on the list. Cleave writes moving, character based fiction. If I was going to compare him with anyone, it would be kind of like Barbara Kingsolver - but not exactly. Everyone says his writing is beautiful and touching. This is a story of a love triangle that takes place during WWII but it is more than that in many ways - it is a story about the effect of war on people and community. Mary comes from a 'good' family and she decides to contribute to the war effort by becoming a teacher. She works with Tom, an education administrator and they develop a relationship. Tom's friend Alastair enlists and when Mary meets him, she develops a relationship with him too. They say this is a sweeping epic with unforgettable characters.

Next is Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. Danler is a debut author whose title has received much love from reviewers. It follows Tess - a twenty two year old who comes to New York City looking for life. She lucks into a waitress position at a renowned restaurant and we spend a year with her as she learns the ways of the city. Said to be a stunning coming of age story and a fictionalized account of her own life.

Clare Mackintosh is another debut author who has I Let You Go on the list. This is British psychological suspense and involves a hit and run killing of a 5 year old boy. It is told from the point of view of the mother, Jenna,; the lead detective and another man. Jenna lets go of the boys hand and he runs into the street. She can not forgive herself and leaves town for a remote Welsh town.Just when she starts to recover, the past comes to find her. Said to be gripping and moving.

Next comes Dan Vyleta's Smoke. I don't know how to define his work or to whom I can compare him. This tale is a combination alternate history, historical fiction and suspense. A very real genre mixing. In this era in London, people give off smoke if the lie or cheat or have impure thoughts. However, some people (like the well to do) can control the smoke. Three young people who come from a prep school, try to find out the reasons behind the smoke. This work is kind of Dickensian in a way. The powerful want to keep things as they are  - they have the power because they don't give off smoke. Young against old; good against evil - an addictive tale and there may be a sequel rumor has it.

John Hart is on the list with Redemption Road. Hart writes in the updated Southern Gothic tradition and as a former defense attorney, they often deal with the law. His work is kind of like Peter T. Deutermann or Michael Koryta. This title tells several story but then, the whole small town is involved in all of them. A police detective Elizabeth Black is facing a possible suspension following a shooting. A former good cop, Adrian Wall is being released from prison after 13 years for the murder of Julia Stange. Stange's son is waiting to kill Wall for the murder. Meanwhile, bodies show up at a church. Said to be compelling and enthralling. Hart is known for his exquisite character development. Quite a read.

Kelley Armstrong has written quite a few titles in the urban fantasy genre and even has a popular teen series. She is quite a suspense author also and has The City of the List on the list this month. This is the first in a possible series featuring Casey Duncan. Casey has a secret - back when she was in college she killed the grandson of a mobster, but she was never caught. Now she is a homicide detective. Her friend, Diana, was married to a violent abusive man. When Diana's husband finds her and Casey is attacked, they apply to go to this town in the wilds of Canada, Rockton. It is only for those who want to get lost. When they are accepted and arrive, Casey discovers that they might have been safer in the city.

Now a favorite author, Laura Lippman, who has Wilde Lake on the list. This work is more about truth and the path to discover the truth and whether or not we really want the real truth than it is about a mystery. However, there is mystery and suspense here. Lu Brant is the newly elected state's attorney and she decides to bring to trial a mentally disturbed drifter who is accused of beating a woman to death in her apartment. Something about this case brings up memories of a old case in her past when she was a child. Her brother killed someone who was attacking his friend. He was found not guilty but now, she wonders about what really happens. Perhaps, she would be better off if she didn't know.

Lastly, Lydia Millet has Sweet Lamb of Heaven on the list. This is another one which kind of blends genre. Part thriller, part psychological suspense with a little religious philosophy thrown in. Millet was a Pulitzer finalist for her novel Magnificence back in 2013.  Her writing is praised by reviewers in this one too. Here she focuses on Lydia and her 6 year old daughter who flee an unfaithful husband who is running for political office. They take refuge in an old motel on the coast of Maine. Lydia has been hearing voices in her head since the birth of her daughter and wonders if she is crazy. However, others living in this motel seem to hear voices also. Her husband decides he needs his family back to present the 'perfect family' for his election campaign. In trying to get Lydia back, he goes from threatening to criminal. Quite a read.

OK - there are some titles to tempt you. Hope you find something you want to read.

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