Thursday, August 21, 2014

Reading Ahead: September 2014, part 5

September seems to be overflowing with great reading material (and I haven't even gotten to my list of picks!), so if you're at a loss for something to read, there's hope just a few short weeks away. (Sorry, I know, but librarians are always looking at least a few weeks ahead. I can't help it.) Here are a few contemporary titles to tempt you.

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales, by Margaret Atwood. Atwood has been a favorite of mine for many years, and she hasn't disappointed me yet. And since reviewers are calling this "vintage Atwood...think Alias Grace", I'm more than a little intrigued. Short stories are also perfect for this time of year--there's something delicious in the accomplishment of reading a story in a single evening. This collection, her first in nearly a decade, is full of acute psychological insight and turbulent interpersonal relationships. I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

The Children Act, by Ian McEwan. Fiona is a High Court judge presiding over family court in London, well-versed in her particular field of law. Professionally, she is hard-working, brilliant and successful, but personally, she is unraveling as her marriage crumbles. A particularly complicated case involving the welfare of a teenager whose family's religious beliefs conflict with his medical needs gives Fiona a way to lose herself in her work, but only for so long. I'm a fan of McEwan's writing style--there's a reason he's won so many awards--so this will likely be on my to-read list in the future.

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, by Jan Karon. Karon's Mitford novels have been a mainstay for readers for decades. Now she brings readers a new tale in Mitford, as Father Timothy returns from his long post-retirement travels and finds himself at a loss for how he fits into the fabric of his community. Indeed, he finds Mitford has changed while he was away and must wonder: does the Mitford he remembers still exist? Does it still take care of its own? Fans will definitely need to pick this up.

I'll be back next week with a list of my picks for September releases, as well as catching up with what I've been reading. Enjoy a book this weekend!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reading Ahead: September 2014, part 4

Historical fiction fans, rejoice! September is teeming with great new titles for you, across a variety of time periods and locales.  Take a look.

Edge of Eternity, by Ken Follett. Follett is back with the final installment of his Century trilogy (the first two being Fall of Giants and  Winter of the World). Here, readers pick up with the five intertwined families (American, German, Russian, English and Welsh) through the tumultuous period between the 1960s through the 1980s, including assassinations, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile crisis, and more. Follett is a master of the epic saga--fans of Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles (Only Time Will Tell, etc.) might do well to check this out.

The King’s Curse, by Philippa Gregory. Following the long line of Cousins' War novels that have come before (starting with The White Princess), The King's Curse follows the rapid rise to power of Henry VIII in Tudor England, told from the unique perspective of lady in waiting Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (the White Princess). Initially part of the court of Henry's older brother, Prince Arthur and his wife, Katherine of Aragon, Margaret finds herself staying with Katherine through the death of Arthur and Katherine's subsequent marriage to Henry. It is when Anne Boleyn comes into the picture that Margaret finds her loyalty tested--does she stay by the side of her disgraced queen, or support her tyrannical king? Gregory is at her best, in my opinion, when she considers familiar events through less familiar characters. If that holds true, this should be excellent.

Blood on the Water, by Anne Perry. In her twentieth William Monk mystery, Perry's detective, now Commander of the River Police, moves between the grand Mayfair mansions of London and the teeming shores of the Thames, where Monk finds himself witness to the explosion of the pleasure boat Princess Mary, resulting in the deaths of nearly two hundred revelers. The tragedy is no accident, and it is up to Commander Monk to unravel the motive and find the culprit, before Monk himself becomes a target. 

An Italian Wife, by Ann Hood. Hood has a beautiful way of writing about ordinary people in such a way as the reader finds them extraordinary, and has built herself quite a fan base as a result. This latest is a compilation of vignettes more than a novel, which follow Italian immigrant Josephine Rimaldi throughout the long century of her life, seeing her joy and sorrows, watching her family grow and flourish. Fans of Hood's other work (The Red Thread, The Obituary Writer) will definitely not want to miss this.

September has lots more to offer readers, so I'll be back on Thursday to wrap up the Reading Ahead posts for the month. In the meantime, happy reading!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Reading Ahead: September 2014, part 3

Rounding up the last of the big suspense titles for September--but there's also a bunch of great new historical, mystery and contemporary fiction coming, so stay tuned for future posts!

The Perfect Witness, by Iris Johansen. Johansen takes a break from her Eve Duncan series and brings readers a new heroine. Teresa Casali has a unique gift, one that has prompted her to flee her old life and develop a new cover and a new life. She spends years under an assumed name in Witness Protection...until her past catches up with her. For those who like a little metaphysics to go with their suspense.

Festive in Death, by J.D. Robb. Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, picks up her bestselling Eve Dallas series as 2061 approaches and Eve finds herself dealing with both homicide and the holidays. The series is great fun--if you're new to it, I do recommend starting at the beginning with book 1, Naked in Death.

Haunted, by Kay Hooper.  Hooper is back with a new Bishop novel, finding a team of unlikely allies trying to solve a paranormal disturbance and murder in small-town Georgia. The series is growing steadily in popularity, and tends to come in inter-connected trilogies.  If you want to get a little caught up but don't want to start all the way at the beginning, try the first book in the most recent trilogy, Haven.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reading Ahead: September 2014, part 2

If you thought that this summer had offered all the suspense and thrillers you could want, you'd be wrong--September is brimming with new these!

Burn, by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Golem of Hollywood, by Jonathan Kellerman & Jesse Kellerman

The Secret Place, by Tana French

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Reading Ahead: September 2014, part 1

Don't worry.  Just because I'm going to start talking about September fiction releases doesn't mean that summer's over! (Besides, I've been ordering holiday books since May, so consider this an easier transition!)

Looking for some suspense and thriller novels? September is packed to the brim with them!  Here's a sampling to get us started.

Bones Never Lie, by Kathy Reichs. Reichs's newest installment in her Temperance Brennan series (inspiration for the hit TV series Bones, if you weren't aware) finds our heroine unexpectedly called in to the Charlotte PD’s Cold Case Unit and wondering why she’s been asked to meet with a homicide cop who’s a long way from his own jurisdiction. The shocking answer: Two child murders, separated by thousands of miles, have one thing in common—the killer. And not just any killer, but one that has eluded Brennan before. Now Brennan must use this second chance and put an end to this reign of terror once and for all. The books are very different from the television series, but sixteen bestsellers later, Reichs is most definitely doing it right.

The Lost Key, by Catherine Coulter & J.T. Ellison. Nicholas Drummond, fresh out of his training at Quantico, joins partner Mike Caine in an investigation into the Wall Street stabbing of a historian and antiquities dealer. Only, it seems the victim's trade in rare books was in fact a cover, and that Pearce was actually on the trail of a WWI U-boat filled with gold bullion. When it turns out that Pearce's children are missing and the case now becomes an international manhunt. Fans of Ian Fleming's James Bond series might want to take a look.

Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot, by Reed Farrel Coleman. Parker's passing in 2010 has not slowed the publication of books in his series.  Here, Jesse Stone grapples with his past when he's invited to a reunion of his old Triple-A team, only to have his time at the event cut short when a young woman is found murdered back in Paradise, and her boyfriend, member of a prominent family, has apparently been kidnapped. Stone is going to find out just where evil lurks, and it's never in plain sight. Critics are saying that Coleman does an admirable job of adapting to the style and characters of Parker's previous 9 Jesse Stone novels, so fans of the series might want to check this out.

The Eye of Heaven, by Clive Cussler & Russell Blake. Baffin Island: Husband-and-wife team Sami and Remi Fargo are on a climate-control expedition in the Arctic, when to their astonishment they discover a Viking ship in the ice, perfectly preserved—and filled with pre–Columbian artifacts from Mexico. How can this be possible? The Fargos will find out!  

I'll be back on Thursday with another batch of thrillers to look forward to!