Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reading Ahead: October 2014, part 4

Mornings are cooler and the leaves around here are just starting to change. Autumn seems to be coming just a little bit early this year, but if you're already looking forward to some cozy evenings curled up with a book (or maybe even thinking ahead for a little holiday-inspired reading?), then here are a few ideas for your reading list.

Mr. Miracle, by Debbie Macomber. Macomber has rightfully earned a reputation as an author who can make any story heartwarming, so this holiday novel should be no different. When Addie Folsom returns home to Tacoma, Washington for the holidays, it's with the plan of staying on and attending community college. She doesn't know that her guardian angel is working overtime to help her get her life back on track. And she certainly never anticipated finding love right next door. Readers looking for something gently funny and cozy this season should check this one out. Also available in Large Print.

Winter Street, by Elin Hilderbrand. Hilderbrand is perhaps best known for her summer books, full of heart and beaches and families coming together. This, her first Christmas book, finds many of the same elements, minus the summer. Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket's Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But the best laid plans dissolve into chaos as the youngest, Bart, has joined the Marines and has been shipped out to Afghanistan, the three elder siblings are each caught up in their own personal dramas, and Kelley catches his second wife kissing someone else. The only one who can save the dysfunctional family's Christmas may just be the least likely candidate. For everyone whose family makes them crazy around the holidays, this should be a must-read.

Some Luck, by Jane Smiley. Pulitzer Prize winner Smiley (A Thousand Acres) is back with her first adult novel since 2010, following a remarkable family over the course of three transformative decades in America, each chapter covering a single year, starting in 1920 as Walter Langdon is returning to his family in Iowa after serving in World War I. As time moves forward, the Langdon children grow up and move away from home, start families of their own. This is the first part of a proposed trilogy, an epic family drama that Jeffrey Archer or Ken Follett fans may want to check out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Reading Ahead: October 2014, part 3

 I know some of you have been patiently waiting through the suspense and thriller titles set for release next month, hoping that eventually I'd get around to something a little lighter and/or gentler. Never fear. No matter what your genre of choice is, I've got a little something for each of you.

Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult. Since her debut novel (Songs of the Humpback Whale) twenty-two years ago, Picoult has earned a reputation as an author who creates stories that resonate with readers, complete with page-turning plots and complex characters. So fans rejoice, because her new novel is being heralded as her best yet. Jenna Metcalf has been searching for her mother, Alice, since Alice disappeared ten years ago in the wake of a tragic accident. Unable to accept that she was abandoned, Jenna pores over her mother's old journals and searches online, hoping to stumble upon a clue. Jenna teams up with a jaded private detective and a psychic with a knack for finding missing persons. As the trio asks hard questions, however, they must also accept hard answers. Expect this to be what your friends, book clubs and neighbors are reading this fall.

Ship of Brides, by Jojo Moyes. Moyes fans are getting inundated with titles this year, both new releases and new-to-the-US-market releases, Ship of Brides being one of the latter (originally published in the UK in 2005). In post WWII Sydney, Australia, four young women join over 650 other war brides for the extraordinary voyage to England aboard the HMS Victoria, which also happens to be carrying military arms and aircraft...and over a thousand naval officers. Despite strict regulations for all of the ship's passengers, however, the men and war brides will find their lives intertwined. I would especially recommend this to fans of Moyes's The Girl You Left Behind.

Pegasus, by Danielle Steel. Nicolas von Bingen and Alex von Hemmerle, titled members of the German aristocracy, have been best friends since childhood. Both widowers, they are raising their respective children on Bavarian estates which have been in their families for generations. It is a sudden twist of fate that sends Nicolas and his sons fleeing to America to start a new life, Alex's daughter finding refuge in England, and Alex himself faced with unbearable choices. Steel may find herself adding to her legions of fans with this latest title.

Shopaholic to the Stars, by Sophie Kinsella. Kinsella returns to her beloved Shopaholic series with Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) newly arrived in Hollywood and starry-eyed. She and her two-year-old daughter, Minnie, have relocated to L.A. to join Becky’s husband, Luke, who is there to handle PR for famous actress Sage Seymour. Becky suddenly has everything she's ever wanted: red carpet premiers, velvet ropes, A-list clients... But does it actually make her happy? Fans of the series will be delighted with the return of Becky and all of her antics.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reading Ahead: October 2014, part 2

Today's post brings you thrills, chills, suspense, and a long-undead character back among the living. What the heck am I talking about?  Read on.

Paris Match, by Stuart Woods. Stone Barrington is back in his 31st outing of Woods' long-running series, and has returned to Paris to attend to some business. While he's there, Barrington finds himself pursued by an old enemy who has teamed up with a second man who has his own reasons to be out for Barrington's blood. And concerns from across the pond find our hero torn between his needs abroad and those of his country back home.

A Wolf in Winter, by John Connolly. Bestselling Irish author Connolly returns with a new Charlie Parker thriller which finds the private detective drawn to Prosperous, Maine after the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter. The people of Prosperous are not welcoming to outsiders; their lives and prosperity are dependent upon shielding their centuries-old secret from the rest of the world. Parker, however, is not a man easily dissuaded, and he is therefore one of the biggest threats to the citizens of Prosperous, putting him in terrible danger. Readers who like their thrillers full of rich prose and introspective characters would do well to try this series.

Prince Lestat, by Anne Rice. At long last, Rice returns to her most popular series and character, the decidedly non-sparkly vampire Lestat. The Vampire world is in utter chaos. Vampires are proliferating at alarming rates. Burnings have commenced world-wide; old vampires have been raised from their long slumbers by a Voice bidding them to do terrible things. Heroes of Rice's long-running series, like Armand, Pandora, Marius and others, are all brought together to figure out what the Voice is and how they may stop it. At the center of all of this madness is the curiously absent Prince Lestat himself, considered the last great hope of vampire-kind. Fans will be overjoyed at the return of some of their favorite characters in what is being heralded as a luxuriant and fiercely ambitious novel.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Reading Ahead: October 2014, part 1

I heard someone say the saddest thing ever last week. Want to know what it was?

"School starts soon. I won't be able to read again until next June."

As both a reader and a librarian, I found that statement profoundly depressing. I can't imagine going most of the year with the notion that there would simply not be enough time or energy or motivation or combination of those things to manage to read a book. If you're finding yourself in a similar mindset about reading "out of season", I have some great tips to help you find/create more time to get some reading in. All is not lost! And you'll definitely want to make sure you make time for some of the great new suspense and thrillers coming out this fall.

Gray Mountain, by John Grisham. Grisham has a new hero(ine!), and her name is Samantha Kofer. It's 2008 and her career on Wall Street is on the fast track, at least until the recession hits and she finds herself downsized, furloughed, and escorted out of the building. But she is one of the lucky ones, offered a job at a rural legal-aid clinic for one year, without pay, after which there is a small possibility she might get her job back. In a matter of days, Samantha trades Manhattan for Appalachia, where she gets more experience, both professional and practical, than she ever thought she might. The advance praise I've read about this makes it a sure thing for Grisham fans, and might win him some new ones, too.

Deadline, by John Sandford. Eighth in Sandford's Virgil Flowers series, Deadline finds Flowers investigating a dognapping for a friend, a simple task that is growing bigger and uglier by the minute, as signs are pointing to a larger operation supplying medical labs with animals for testing. Then he receives a phone call to help investigate the murder of a very unpopular local reporter. Sandford can be relied upon for complex characters and well-placed plotting, so this is a sure bet for fans.

Truth Be Told, by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Ryan is no joke. Investigative reporter. Award-winning, best-selling author. Here she returns to readers with her third Jane Ryland/Jake Brogan novel, using her insider's skills to craft a twisted tale of suspense. Reporter Ryland is investigating a heartbreaking story of a middle-class family evicted from their home, only to find that this event, and other recent foreclosures, is part of a bigger scheme backed by some very surprising players. Meanwhile, Boston police detective Brogan has personal reasons for wanting to close a twenty-year-old cold case, but he suspects that the man who's confessed to the crime is actually lying. Readers looking to get in on a newer series should definitely try this one--start with the first installment, The Other Woman.

Havana Storm, by Clive Cussler & Dirk Cussler. While investigating a toxic outbreak in the Caribbean Sea that may ultimately threaten the United States, Pitt unwittingly becomes involved in something even more dangerous—a post-Castro power struggle for the control of Cuba. Meanwhile, Pitt’s children, marine engineer Dirk and oceanographer Summer, are on an investigation of their own, chasing an Aztec stone that may reveal the whereabouts of a vast historical Aztec treasure. The problem is, that stone was believed to have been destroyed on the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898, which brings them both to Cuba as well—and squarely into harm’s way.

I'll be back on Thursday with more titles to look forward to!