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.

 

The Second Deadly Sin

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.

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.

 

The Lincoln myth : a novel

American President Cotton Malone tackles the secrets of Mormonism, a U.S. Senator’s stealthy secession plan, and a history-shaping letter that was handed down through the chief executive line.
“September 1861: All is not as it seems. With these cryptic words, a shocking secret passed down from president to president comes to rest in the hands of Abraham Lincoln. And as the first bloody clashes of the Civil War unfold,Lincoln alone must decide how best to use this volatile knowledge: save thousands of American lives, or keep the young nation from being torn apart forever? The present: In Utah, the fabled remains of Mormon pioneers whose nineteenth-century expedition across the desert met with a murderous end have been uncovered. In Washington, D.C., the official investigation of an international entrepreneur, an elder in the Mormon church, has sparked a political battle between the White House and a powerful United States senator. In Denmark, a Justice Department agent, missing in action, has fallen into the hands of a dangerous zealot–a man driven by divine visions to make a prophet’s words reality. And in a matter of a few short hours, Cotton Malone has gone from quietly selling books at his shop in Denmark to dodging bullets in a high-speed boat chase. All it takes is a phone call from his former boss in Washington, and suddenly the ex-agent is racing to rescue an informant carrying critical intelligence. It’s just the kind of perilous business that Malone has been trying to leave behind, ever since he retired from the Justice Department. But once he draws enemy blood, Malone is plunged into a deadly conflict–a constitutional war secretly set in motion more than two hundred years ago by America’s Founding Fathers. From the streets of Copenhagen to the catacombs of Salzburg to the rugged mountains of Utah, the grim specter of the Civil War looms as a dangerous conspiracy gathers power. Malone risks life, liberty, and his greatest love in a race for the truth about Abraham Lincoln–while the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance” — from publisher’s web site.

 

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.

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.

The Favorite

One Kick : a novel

 

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…

 

 

 

Lucky us : a novel  Heroes are my weakness  Lock in  Miniaturist-199x300  Big little lies  The Truth About Leo  An Unwilling Accomplice  The magician's land : a novel  The story hour : a novel

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!

The quick : a novel

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.

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.

 

Lucky us : a novel

“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…

 

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.

Mother, mother : a novel

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.

The abundance : a novel

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.

Short nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis

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.

The universe versus Alex Woods

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.

Brewster : a novel

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.

The boys in the boat : nine Americans and their epic quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

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.

One summer : America, 1927

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.

Landline   One Plus One : a Novel  The black hour  The Queen of the Tearling  Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands  World of Trouble  California : a novel  The Mockingbird Next Door : Life with Harper Lee  Dry bones in the valley : a novel

 

Lately, popular authors and their publishers have been releasing novellas and other short, sometimes even experimental, works exclusively as eBook singles.  A good example that a librarian brought to my attention today was J. A. Jance’s Joanna Brady novella called The Old Blue Line, coming out next month only in eBook format.  There is no promising sign on the horizon that this content is coming to print any time soon, unfortunately.  At the moment it is also not available for us to purchase in OverDrive and 3M, but titles may appear later in them close to or after the publication date.

Here’s a link to a Forbes article  from last year that explains an economic motive for doing electronic only publication for shorter works. If you’re a glass half full kind of person, you might note that the likely alternative would be no availability at all for these, but that’s probably little consolation to the tantalized print reader and/or library borrower.

 

The LibraryReads! list of librarian favorites for books to be published in June includes the sample of three below.  We own the print titles and I’ve tried to round out the audiobook titles if we didn’t own them already.  If you are unfamiliar with LibraryReads! there is a link to their site FAQ’s here.  The list is succinct and provides excellent examples of titles that may be bestsellers anyway (like China Dolls) or that may fly just a bit under the radar and therefore ripe for hand selling (like Elizabeth is Misssing and the Ice Cream Queen).

 

Elizabeth Is MissingHealey, Emma. Elizabeth is Missing. Harper, 6/10/14.

SummaryIn this darkly riveting debut novel, a sophisticated psychological mystery, one woman will stop at nothing to fiFInd her best friend, who seems to have gone missing. . . .nbsp; Despite Maud’s growing anxiety about Elizabeth’s welfare, no one takes her concerns seriously–not her frustrated daughter, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son–because Maud suffers from dementia. But even as her memory disintegrates and she becomes increasingly dependent on the trail of handwritten notes she leaves for herself in her pockets and around her house, Maud cannot forget her best friend. Armed with only an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth–no matter what it takes. As this singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present, the clues she uncovers lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: that of her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II. As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more than fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud’s search for Elizabeth develops a frantic momentum. Whom can she trust? Can she trust herself? A page-turning novel of suspense, Elizabeth Is Missing also hauntingly reminds us that we are all at the mercy of our memory. Always compelling, often poignant, and at times even blackly witty, this is an absolutely unforgettable novel.

 

China Dolls : a novel

See, Lisa. China Dolls. Random House, 6/3/14.

The New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls has garnered international acclaim for her great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate. Now comes Lisa See’s highly anticipated new novel, China Dolls . nbsp; It’s 1938 in San Francisco: a world’s fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition. nbsp; The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything. Advance praise for China Dolls nbsp; ” China Dolls mines a fascinating part of our cultural history through the story of a trio of women who become a complex constant in one another’s lives even as the world serves up painful transformation. Lisa See gets so much just right here. You’ll want to dive right in.” –Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife nbsp; “This is one of those stories I’ve always wanted to tell, but Lisa See beat me to it, and she did it better than I ever could. Bravo! Here’s a roaring standing ovation for this heartwarming journey into the glittering golden age of Chinese nightclubs.” –Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Songs of Willow Frost nbsp; “In the beginning of See’s stellar ninth book, three young women, Grace, Helen, and Ruby, meet and form an unlikely but strong bond in San Francisco in 1938. . . . The story alternates between their viewpoints, with each woman’s voice strong and dynamic, developing a multilayered richness as it progresses. The depth of See’s characters and her winning prose make this book a wonderful journey through love and loss.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review) nbsp; Praise fornbsp; Dreams of Joy nbsp; “Astonishing . . . one of those hard-to-put-down-until-four-in-the-morning books . . . a story with characters who enter a reader’s life, take up residence, and illuminate the myriad decisions and stories that make up human history.” — Los Angeles Times nbsp; “[Lisa] See is a gifted historical novelist. . . . [In Dreams of Joy, ] there are no clear heroes or villains, just people who often take wrong turns to their own detriment but for the good of the story, leading to greater strength of character and more durable relationships.” –San Francisco Chronicle

 

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

Gilman, Susan Jane. The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street.  Grand Central, 6/10/14.

In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street. Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, “The Ice Cream Queen” — doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality. Lillian’s rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone . And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.

 

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