July 29, 2014
For the reader who doesn’t think Lawrence Block writes Bernie Rhodenbarr Burglar mysteries fast enough, there is also likable antihero Junior Bender in Hallinan’s growing series. I have the ARC of the latest title, Herbie’s Game. The from-the-streets realism, vivid characters and dark humor are all a lot of fun. This just came out and has a few holds on four copies. Would anyone like the leisure of enjoying the ARC?
“It’s everyday business when Wattles, the San Fernando Valley’s top “executive crook,” sets up a hit. He establishes a chain of criminals to pass along the instructions and the money, thereby ensuring that the hitter doesn’t know who hired him. Then one day Wattles finds his office safe open and a single item missing: the piece of paper on which he has written the names of the crooks in the chain. When people associated with the chain begin to pop up dead, the only person Wattles can turn to to solve hisproblem is Junior Bender, professional burglar and begrudging private eye for crooks. But Junior already knows exactly who took Wattles’s list: the signature is too obvious. It was Herbie Mott, Junior’s burglar mentor and second father–and when Junior seeks him out to discuss the missing list, he finds Herbie very unpleasantly murdered. Junior follows the links in the chain back toward the killer, and as he does, he learns disturbing things about Herbie‘s hidden past. He has to ask himself how much of the life he’s lived for the past twenty years has been of his own making, and how much of it was actually Herbie‘s game“– Provided by publisher.
July 24, 2014
This was a “buzz” at BookExpo and seems like an interesting new take on the post-apocalypse. (Do you get the impression some people almost crave collapse?) I have an extra ARC and will be reading the other one this weekend. I’d love to pass both on eventually. Let’s compare notes.
“An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, from the author of three highly acclaimed previous novels. One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the TravelingSymphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it”– Provided by publisher.
July 22, 2014
For aficionados of Scandinavian crime fiction, complete with a prosecutor heroine, but with more legendary and mystical elements. And apparently Oprah likes this author, too! Comment to claim.
Oprah.com raved that Asa Larsson’s Rebecka Martinsson is a crime fighter who has all the needed gut instincts,” and listed the series as “Mysteries Every Thinking Woman Should Read.” In The Second Deadly Sin , dawn breaks in a forest in northern Sweden. Villagers gather to dispatch a rampaging bear. When the beast is brought to ground they are horrified to find the remains of a human hand inside its stomach. In nearby Kiruna, a woman is found murdered in her bed, her body a patchwork of vicious wounds, the word WHORE scrawled across the wall. Her grandson Marcus, already an orphan, is nowhere to be seen. Grasping for clues, Rebecka Martinsson begins to delve into the victim’s tragic family history. But with doubts over her mental health still lingering, she is ousted from the case by an arrogant and ambitious young prosecutor. Before long a chance lead draws Martinsson back into the thick of the action and her legendary courage is put to the test once more.
July 21, 2014
I’m not one to gobble up the Da Vinci Code read-alike list, but this one intrigued me for its focus on American history and the central question Lincoln faced and seemingly answered: Is the union perpetual or can states just leave if a majority of their populations really want to?
The Lincoln Myth uniquely covers the role of the LDS Church in preserving and challenging the union and the link between the Founders, Abraham Lincoln and Brigham Young. There’s also a spy vs. spy love triangle and non-stop action around Europe, Utah, D.C., and even Des Moines. Berry’s writing style is crisp and punctuates thought patterns to guide the reader through an intricate plot. The Lincoln Myth has a holds queue but I do have the arc for the first commenter.
July 17, 2014
This plot gets more and more intense as it progresses. This is coming out next month. I’ll make sure that the first to comment gets this. Thanks!
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin. But Nella’s life changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways… Johannes’s gift helps Nella pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation…or the architect of their destruction? Enchanting, beautifully written, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.
July 14, 2014
The August list is out with an array of choices that interestingly (and unabashedly) includes titles from the romance and science fiction genres, as well as an international selection from an Indian American author. We have all of these on order in print. I have double checked audiobooks and all that we could purchase either are already or will be on order soon. In most cases it’s too soon to acquire the eBooks but we’ll be on the lookout. Right now I am reading the ARC of the Miniaturist, which is a delight, but I’ll hurry up and offer it on the blog soon.
Cain, Chelsea. One Kick.
“Kick Lannigan, 21, is a survivor. Abducted at age six in broad daylight, the police, the public, perhaps even her family assumed the worst had occurred. And then Kathleen Lannigan was found, alive, six years later. And a new form of hell began. In the early months following her freedom, as Kick struggled with PTSD, her parents put her through a litany of therapies — meditation, Jungian, scream therapy. Nothing helped until the detective who rescued her suggestedKick learn to fight…
July 11, 2014
This is identified as a hot summer debut and right now has 25 holds on 4 copies. I have the ARC if I can tempt you. Please comment and I’ll see you get it. Thanks!
“Lauren Owen‘s thrilling first novel introduces an utterly beguiling world. London, 1893: James Norbury is a shy would-be poet, newly down from Oxford and confounded by the sinister, labyrinthine city at his doorstep. Taking up lodging with a dissolute young aristocrat, he is introduced to the drawing rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. On the cusp of achieving a happiness long denied to him, he vanishes without a trace. In Yorkshire, his sister Charlotte – only in her twentiesbut already resigned to life as a rural spinster – sets out to find her brother. Her search for answers leads her to one of the country’s pre-eminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the richest, most ambitious men inEngland. Trying to save James – and herself – from the Club’s designs, Charlotte uncovers a secret world at the city’s margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Dr. Knife.” As emotionally involving as it is suspenseful, The Quick will establish its young author as one of contemporary fiction’s most dazzling talents” — Provided by publisher.
July 7, 2014
This vivid historical novel set in the Depression, World War II, and postwar period, focuses on two half sisters that couldn’t be more different. Iris is an attention-seeking budding movie then stage actress whose career and love life suffer from the prejudices of the times. Eva is her overshadowed bookish kid sister. From Ohio to LA to Brooklyn to London the sense of time and place is the strongest element. There is a lot of tragedy here and sympathetic characters die, but the resilience of an unusual family that knows how to survive on its wits in tough times is memorable. The relationship dynamic of the sisters reminds me of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Sisterland – the Depression-era turns-of-fortune element of Jamie Ford’s Songs of Willow Frost. The women’s father, who both nurtures and steals from them, is also interesting.
Lucky Us is coming out next month. I would love to pass this ARC on to the first to comment.
“My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.” So begins this remarkable novel by Amy Bloom, whose critically acclaimed Away was called “a literary triumph” ( The New York Times ). Lucky Us is a brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny novel of love, heartbreak, and luck. nbsp; Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island. nbsp; With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise. From Brooklyn’s beauty parlors to London’s West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species…
July 2, 2014
This completes the last order of book discussion kits, which was larger than normal thanks to a plethora of great suggestions. This batch includes Bill Bryson’s One Summer and two kits of Daniel Brown’s The Boys in the Boat, finally out in paperback. Thanks as always to the Foundation for funding this great program, and to Hillary for expeditious processing.
Zailckas, Koren. Mother, Mother.
Josephine Hurst has her family under control: two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband and a historical landmark home. But living in this matriarch’s determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasn’t been easy for her family. When her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyfriend, Josephine tightens her grip, gradually turning her flawless home into a darker sort of prison.
Mujmadar, Amit. The Abundance.
“Mala and Ronak are surprisingly less comfortable with their dual Indian and American roots than their parents, part of an immigrant community that has happily embraced the New World. Told that their mother is about to die, they return home to the Midwest, where Mala persuades Ronak that they should immerse themselves in Indian culture by learning to cook their mother’s favorite recipes. Then Ronak hits upon the idea of capturing their experience in book and film, and all hell breaks loose.”–Library Journal.
Egan, Timothy. Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher.
“Edward Curtis was dashing, charismatic, a passionate mountaineer, a famous photographer–the Annie Liebowitz of his time. And he was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his great idea: He would try to capture on film the Native American nation before it disappeared. At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait,Egan‘s book tells the remarkable untold story behind Curtis’s iconic photographs, following him throughout Indian country from desert to rainforest as he struggled to document the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. Even with the backing of Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan, it took tremendous perseverance–six years alone to convince the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. The undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. He would die penniless and unknown in Hollywood just a few years after publishing the last of his twenty volumes. But the charming rogue with the grade-school education had fulfilled his promise–his great adventure succeeded in creating one of America’s most stunning cultural achievements.”– Provided by publisher.
Extence, Gavin. The Universe Versus Alex Woods.
“Alex Woods was struck by a meteorite when he was ten years old, leaving scars that marked him for an extraordinary life. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, he hasn’t had the most conventional childhood. When he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing …”–From publisher description.
Slouka, Mark. Brewster.
Still reeling from the death of his older brother, a sixteen-year-old track star befriends a street-fighting rebel and together they search for redemption amidst the social changes of 1968.
Brown, Daniel. The Boys in the Boat. (2 Kits)
Daniel James Brown‘s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.
Bryson, Bill. One Summer.
Bryson examines closely the events and personalities of the summer of 1927 when America’s story was one of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy.
June 9, 2014
LibraryReads has posted their list of librarians’ favorites for publication in July. We have all titles on order in print except for Dollbaby (being ordered), and I am ordering whatever audiobook editions I can if I haven’t already. I will check on these next month for eBook availability, which sometimes can’t be determined until the month of publication. How useful do you find this list for readers’ advisory and promotional purposes? Is it worth careful attention and support from us? I welcome feedback. As this catches on, personally I am finding the selections more intriguing and less obvious each time.