Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reading Ahead: October 2016, part 5

Ok, I'll say it. I'm sorry. I'm sorry that two of the titles mentioned in today's post are holiday books, and that it's not even October yet. To be fair, I've held them back as long as I can. Also, I ordered both of them back in April, so if you think I'm pushing it? Trust me, I feel your pain here. Then again, you might be really excited about the prospect of cozy holiday stories, in which case, have at it!

Winter Storms, by Elin Hilderbrand. There was a time when Ms. Hilderbrand was the Queen of Summer, each new book from her a sunny romp along the shore. While she retains this title, this makes her third holiday story about the Quinn family in three years (following Winter Street, 2014, and Winter Stroll, 2015), so she may also become the Winter Queen in fairly short order. Some of the stormy weather of the past few seasons seems to have finally lifted for the Quinns. After a year apart, and an ill-fated affair with the Winter Street Inn's old Santa Claus, Mitzi has returned to rule the roost; Patrick is about to be released from prison; Kevin has a successful new business and is finally ready to tie the knot with Isabelle; and best of all, there's hopeful news about Bart, who has been captured by enemy forces in Afghanistan. If there's one holiday that brings the Quinn family together to give thanks for the good times, it's Christmas. Also available in Large Print.

Twelve Days of Christmas, by Debbie Macomber. Continuing her festive annual tradition of a holiday romance, Macomber returns with a new novel about finding love in the most unexpected of places.
Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness. In for a penny, in for a pound, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas to chronicle her project, becoming an overnight online success. Eventually she may have to choose between her growing feelings for Cain and her internet super-stardom. Also available in Large Print.

The Boy Is Back, by Meg Cabot. Reed Stewart thought he’d left all his small town troubles—including a broken heart—behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, ten years ago to become rich and famous on the professional golf circuit.  Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return . . . with a vengeance. Becky Flowers has worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him when he returns—until his family hires her to save his parents. Now they can't avoid each other, and it may be the best thing that could have happened to either of them.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Reading Ahead: October 2016, part 4

Wow, September is just rocketing right along, and I just can't seem to keep up! Good thing I keep a handy list of what's coming soon close by, or I'd really be in trouble!

Hag-Seed, by Margaret Atwood. In this modern retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest, Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he's staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds.  Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge.  After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theater course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It's magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall? I'm a long-time fan of Atwood's, since reading Alias Grace in college (many moons ago). There have been a number of Shakespearean retellings of late, but if Atwood is true to form, this will be a standout.

Two By Two, by Nicholas Sparks. This much anticipated new novel from Sparks (seriously, people have been requesting it for months and months already) is sure to be an instant favorite among fans. At 32, Russell Green is living the American Dream: gorgeous wife, adorable daughter, successful advertising career, an enviable home. But like so many perfect things, all is not as it appears, and within a matter of months, Russell's world has been upended. Gone are his wife, his career, and he's left to recreate life for himself and his young daughter. Also available in Large Print.

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult. Picoult always seems to have her finger on the pulse of hotbed topics in our culture, and her new novel is just her latest demonstration of this precision. Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? Expect that your fellow readers will be discussing this in short order. Also available in Large Print.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Reading Ahead: October 2016, part 3

The Trespasser, by Tana French. Tana French is among my favorite suspense novelists right now. The unique blend of compelling characters and meticulous plotting in her Murder Squad series (starting with In The Woods) result in compulsively readable novels I find impossible to put down. In her latest, Detective Antoinette Conway is not having an easy time of it, being on the Murder Squad. For one, it feels like only her partner, Stephen Moran, is happy she's there. Her days seem filled with thankless cases, as well as pranks and harassment from her other squadmates. Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad, but the unusual part is that Antoinette is sure she's seen the woman somewhere before. While other detectives are pressing Antoinette to arrest the victim's boyfriend immediately, she must solve the case to her satisfaction, and it is nowhere near as neat and tidy a case as it originally appeared. I recommend French to fans of Linwood Barclay, The Killing, and Broadchurch.

Sex, Lies, & Serious Money, by Stuart Woods. Fresh off the runway at Teterboro, Stone Barrington arrives home to find an unexpected new client on his doorstep, anxiously soliciting his help. But everything is not as it seems, when the client reveals the true nature—and value—of his recent turn of fortune. From luxury New York high-rises to the sprawling New Mexico desert, his client is pursued from all angles . . . and Stone quickly learns that easy money isn’t always so easy.

Broken Trust, by W.E.B. Griffin. Having investigated his share of gruesome murders, Philadelphia Homicide Sergeant Matt Payne is beginning to think nothing can shock him – until the case of a young socialite’s death lands on his desk. The Camilla Rose Morgan he’d known as a teenager was beautiful and brilliant – how was it possible she’d jumped to her death from her own balcony? Her brother tells Payne she’d tragically been battling a lifetime of mental demons, and there is plenty of evidence of it, but still…something just doesn’t sit right. The more Payne digs, the more complications he discovers. Reputations are on the line here, and lives – and if Payne doesn’t tread carefully, one of them may be his own.

Night Watch, by Iris Johansen. Born blind, Kendra Michaels spent the first twenty years of her life living in the darkness. Then, thanks to a revolutionary medical procedure developed by England’s Night Watch Project, she was given the gift of sight. Her highly-developed senses (honed during her years in the dark), combined with her new found vision, have made her a remarkable investigator, sought after by law-enforcement agencies all over the country. But her newest case becomes deeply personal as she uncovers the truth about the shadowy organization that has given her so much.