Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meg's Picks: May 2014, part 2

After a long, cold winter, I know many of us here in the Northeast are looking forward to warmer temperatures and perhaps a little leisure time.  Here are three of my picks for engrossing reads during the warmup. 

The One & Only, by Emily Giffin.  Giffin is a New York Times bestselling author several times over, which is why readers are very eagerly anticipating her newest novel.  Shea Rigsby loves her hometown, college town Walker, Texas, where life revolves around football.  She loves it so much, in fact, that she stayed there to attend college and went to work for the college after graduation.  Life for Shea is comfortable and familiar, until tragedy strikes their small community.  Suddenly, Shea has to wonder whether the life she has made for herself is enough for her, and whether the people she trusted the most are really deserving of that trust.  A novel of love and loyalty, secrets and fears, treated with Giffin's gentle touch.  I'm expecting this to be a breakout for Giffin, and I'd be surprised if movie rights weren't sold in short order.

The Secret Life of Violet Grant, by Beatriz Williams.  Moving back and forth between 1914 Berlin and 1964 Manhattan, this is a tale of two women who defy convention in a bid for personal freedom and fulfillment.  Vivian Schuyler has turned her back on her monied Fifth Avenue family to take a job with the Madison Avenue's sharp and stylish Metropolitan magazine, much to said family's dismay.  Then Vivian receives an overseas package that uncovers a lost chapter of her family's history--an aunt, Violet Grant, who Vivian never knew existed, and whose own story was one of defiance and desperation.  I think this has great potential, both as a beach read of substance and for book clubs.  I'm definitely recommending it to fans of family sagas, like those written by Adriana Trigiani, Elin Hilderbrand and J. Courtney Sullivan.

The Snow Queen, by Michael Cunningham.  Cunningham is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Virginia Woolf's last days in his Pen/Faulkner Award and Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Hours.  It's November 2004 and Barrett Meeks, having lost love yet again, sees a vision he cannot deny.  He doesn't believe in God, but it seems that religion has found him in his time of need.  His brother, Tyler, is in the process of losing love--his fiancee Beth is facing terminal illness with as much bravery as she can muster.  Tyler, however, finds his solace in a much darker place than his brother Barrett.  Cunningham is known for his subtle prose and his intense empathy for his flawed characters.  This promises to be a beautiful work of prose.

I've been busy reading even as I anticipate all the new books summer has to offer--I'll be back next week with something I just can't keep to myself.  In the meantime, happy reading!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Meg's Picks: May 2014, part 1

 Just when you thought you'd seen all May will have to offer in the way of new titles, I have to tell you that there are more.  And these are titles you should definitely pay a little extra attention to.  Suspsense, thriller and mystery fans?  I'm looking at you.

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers, by Tom Rachman.  Rachman garnered lots of praise for his debut novel, The Imperfectionists.  Tooly Zylberberg is the American owner of a Welsh countryside bookshop, living an isolated life full of many books and very few people.  Books are safer; books don't ask uncomfortable questions about a past Tooly would rather not remember.  When a call from an old boyfriend with startling news reaches her, however, Tooly must leave her safe isolation and travel afar to finally uncover the mysteries of her past.  This is being billed as a sure thing for fans of writers like Jennifer Egan, David Eggers and Donna Tartt.  That's enough to pique my interest!

I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes.  If you're looking for a thriller with some heft (both figurative and literal--it's over 600 pages) to keep you occupied this summer, this may be just what you're looking for.  A spy-thriller of the first order, this debut from Hayes follows a twisting plot and one man's race against time and the odds to try and head off a single-minded enemy.  I've seen it described as a combination of Homeland, The Wire and The Bourne Ultimatum.  Given than it has gotten great reviews from authors like Gregg Hurwitz and David Baldacci, I definitely think this is worth a gamble.

The Skin Collector, by Jeffrey Deaver.  Inspired by the killer in The Bone Collector (the first of the Lincoln Rhyme novels), a new killer is on the loose, and it's up to Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs to once again team up with NYPD and race against time to figure out the killer's pattern, who he will attack next and why he tattoos his victims with poisoned ink.  Delighted to see another installment of Rhyme and Sachs together--they are unorthodox and extraordinary.

The Directive, by Matthew Quirk.  Following Quirk's popular debut, The 500, featuring former con artist and Harvard law student Mike Ford, Ford makes his return in this sequel. After escaping the corrupt back rooms of Washington, DC, Mike Ford is again playing a dangerous game--this time the stakes are even higher.  Mike's brother is in over his head in a powerful conspiracy to steal a secret worth billions of dollars from the little-known but unbelievably influential trading desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In an effort to help, Mike soon finds himself trapped by the dangerous men in charge--and forced to call on all the skills of his criminal past in order to escape.  If this is half as good as Quirk's first novel, this is absolutely a must-read for suspense fans. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reading Ahead: May 2014, part 4

So I realize I've spent three posts sharing titles of new suspense titles bound to vie for space on the bestsellers list.  But Meg, you ask.  What about the other genres.

No worries.  Neither the publishers nor I have forgotten you.

Delicious!, by Ruth Reichl.  Reichl, well known food critic, food writer and food magazine editor has now turned her sites on fiction.  Here in her debut novel, Reichl explores themes of love and loss, distance and history, and overcoming ones fears (all with a side of divine food descriptions she's so well known for).  Billie has traveled across the country to go it alone in NYC, working for the best-known of food magazines, Delicious!.  But when Delicious! suddenly closes, Billie agrees to stay on alone in the defunct offices to field customer complaints--she has to pay her bills somehow, after all.  But what she finds in the office's library, a cache of letters written during World War II, allows her to learn some very valuable lessons.  I'll go out on a limb here--I've really enjoyed Reichl's memoirs, and anticipate that her transition into fiction will be, well, delicious.

The Heiresses, by Sara Shepard.  Shepard is the best-selling author of the Pretty Little Liars teen series.  She sets her sights on mainstream fiction here with The Heiresses, a novel about a diamond family, the Saybrooks, who seem to have everything and yet are plagued by a series of tragic, mysterious deaths.  This is said to read like a cross between thriller and mystery, as the heiresses to the family fortune seek to uncover the family secrets that may cost them their lives.  Shepard writes a mean tale and has a great grasp of high society--might be a great read for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Adriana Trigiani.

Walking on Water, by Richard Paul Evans.  This is the fifth entry in Evans's bestselling Walk series, following Alan Christofferson's daring cross-country walk from Seattle to Key West.  Yet even as he nears his destination, he is pulled west by a crisis at home.  If you're new to the series, you'll want to start at the beginning with The Walk.

Any one of these would make a great beach book this summer--even if you can't get to it now, go ahead and add it to your list! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Reading Ahead: May 2014, part 3

Did I warn you that there would be many, many suspense/thriller titles being published this month?  I did, right?  Here are the last of the "big" titles in these genres slated for publication in May. 

Ghost Ship, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

The Keeper, by John T. Lescroart

Field of Prey, by John Sandford

But there is so much more to come, so I'll be back with even more on Thursday! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Reading Ahead: May 2014, part 2

If the warmer weather (which counts as anything over 45 degrees in New England at this time of year) has you daydreaming about steamy summer days spent with a good book in hand, then you're in good company.  Here are a few more suspense titles to add to your summer reading list.

Resistant, by Michael Palmer

Sniper’s Honor, by Stephen Hunter*

The Kraken Project, by Douglas Preston

The Son, by Jo Nesbo**

Wild Storm, by Richard Castle

Also, remember that Chad Harbach, author of Trumbull's 2014 One Book, One Town selection The Art of Fielding will be appearing at the Trumbull Library on Sunday, April 6 at 2pm.  Reserve your spot now!

*Please note that the book's title has changed since we ordered the title: the correct title is Sniper's Honor, and will be corrected in our catalog shortly.

**New to Jo Nesbo's work and want to read his series in order?  Check out his website.