Thursday, September 20, 2018

Meg's Picks: October 2018, part 1

Historical fiction is on tap next month, and I am so excited!

In the House in the Dark of the Woods, by Laird Hunt. I am a huge fan of Laird Hunt's work--his 2014 novel Neverhome remains one of my favorite historical novels to date. His latest, a horror tale set in colonial New England, should make for perfect reading on a chilly October night. A law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Has she fled her family? Been kidnapped? A story of a bewitching, a betrayal, anger and redemption, will the evil she fears turn out to be within her all along? Hunt's prose is lyrical and evocative, so this should be prime atmospheric reading.

A Well-Behaved Woman, by Therese Fowler. Fowler's last novel, 2013's Z, focused on the turbulent life of Zelda Fitzgerald to excellent effect. Her second is the fascinating story of iron-willed Alva Vanderbilt and her family as they rule in New York during the Golden Age. Alva Smith, from a Southern family left destitute by the Civil War, married into the newly wealthy but socially ostracized Vanderbilt clan. Defying convention, Alma was not only a suffragette, but also went on to build 9 mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. Those with an interest in The Golden Age should make it a point to pick this up.

The Kennedy Debutante, by Kerri Maher. Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy seems to be the Kennedy that history forgot, but not any longer, thanks to Maher's debut. Kick Kennedy moves in swank circles in 1938 London, thanks to her father's appointment as ambassador. Eager to slip away from the drama and responsibilities of her high-powered clan, Kick is ready for a life of her own and falls for Billy Harrington, the future Duke of Devonshire. But romance is rarely easy, and their families, hers Catholic and his Protestant, would never approve the match. When war breaks out and the Kennedys retreat to America, Kick begins to hunt for a way to return to England and her love. For fans of Adriana Trigiani and Beatriz Williams, this is a natural choice.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Reading Ahead: October 2018, part 4

The bookshelves are beginning to get the holiday spirit, but if you're not ready for that just yet (I'm not!!), there are still plenty of other options!

Winter in Paradise, by Elin Hilderbrand. This kickoff to Hilderbrand's new winter series takes readers to the warm beaches of St. John. A late-night phone call shatters everything Irene Steele holds dear--her husband has been found dead, but even more perplexing, he was found on the island of St. John in the Caribbean. Leaving the cold of home behind, Irene ventures into paradise, only to be hit with further devastation: her husband had a second family. In her search for truth, Irene will be pulled into a web of secrets and lies she would never have dreamed existed. Suspenseful stuff from bestselling Hilderbrand. Also available in Large Print.

Alaskan Holiday, by Debbie Macomber. Josie accepts a summer position in the remote town of Ponder, Alaska cooking in a lakeside lodge and quickly falls in love with the close-knit, rustic charm of the community. Also of chief interest is the quiet and intense Palmer Saxon, a swordsmith, of all things. Come fall, Josie knows she must return to reality: her dream job in Seattle, her mother, and all of the responsibilities await her. No matter that she and Palmer are falling in love, she has to return to the lower 48. But fate may have other plans for the star-crossed lovers. Also available in Large Print

Christmas on the Island, by Jenny Colgan. On the remote Scottish isle of Mure, the holiday season is one of cold and ice, but the inhabitants are good at making it bright and cheerful, complete with cozy fires and a dram. Unless, of course, you've gotten pregnant by your ex-boss and don't quite know how to tell him, which is the position Flora has found herself in. In the season of glad tidings and good cheer, how will Joel take the news? And for another family, can they find the season's spirit with one of their own missing? Colgan is a favorite of mine, and I hope she'll be yours as well. Also available in Large Print.

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom. In Albom's sequel to his best-selling The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2003), Eddie gets his heavenly reunion with Annie, the little girl he saved on Earth. The accident, during which Eddie gave his life to save Annie, took Annie's left hand. Injured, scarred and confused, Annie finds herself whisked away from all she's known by her guilt-stricken mother. Bullied by her peers and haunted by memories that stay just out of her grasp, Annie's life is difficult, until she is reconnected with childhood friend, Paulo. But you know that if Annie is reunited with Eddie, something else is on the horizon. Also available in Large Print.

The Collector's Apprentice, by B.A. Shapiro. Shapiro (The Art Forger, etc.) delivers another breath-taking historical thriller. When she's assumed to have stolen millions in an elaborate con for which her former fiance was responsible, 19-year-old Belgian Paulien Martens finds herself disowned, homeless and single in short order. Intent on proving her innocence, and also on getting even with George, Paulien recreates herself in Paris, styling herself as Vivienne Gregsby. Vivienne finds the perfect job, which lets her delve into the world of museums and artists. All's going according to plan, until her boss is found dead and Vivienne is arrested for his murder... Culture and intrigue, who could ask for more?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Reading Ahead: October 2018, part 3

Suspense is the name of the game as we head into cooler weather. Which will you choose to cozy up with?

Elevation, by Stephen King. In the small town of Castle Rock, Scott Carey is rapidly losing weight, though his clothes still fit and he doesn't look any different. He's also rapidly losing patience with the lesbian couple next door, their dog who does its business regularly on Scott's front lawn, and their new restaurant venture in town, which is financial trouble due to a town boycott. When Scott can finally get past his own prejudice, he sees the dire predicament the couple is in, and tries to help, even as he attempts to get a handle on his mystery ailment. A story of unity and alliance in difficult times, this is high on my to-read list this fall. 

The Forbidden Door, by Dean Koontz. Fourth in Koontz's mile-a-minute Jane Hawk series finds Jane, once a star agent with the FBI, now fugitive on a mission, heading into the endgame against a secret society that wants to eradicate free thought in favor of wide-spread technological mind control. While she has struck hard blows against the shadowy cabal, they are about to hit back, and the outcome becomes even more uncertain. Fans won't want to miss out! PS--this went to press a little earlier than originally slated, so place your hold now, it's here already! Also available in Large Print.

Vendetta, by Iris Johansen. With his dying breath, the head of the CIA task force on terrorism, Carl Venable, gives Jude Brandon a final instruction: keep his daughter, Rachel safe, at all costs. But Rachel has a twisted past of her own, and one that comes rushing back after the clinic she works in is attacked by a terrorist ringleader. The same ringleader is Brandon's ultimate nemesis, throwing Rachel and Brandon together in an all-or-nothing race to bring the man down before he can orchestrate more chaos. Everyone has a vendetta, but not everyone will get their revenge.

The Three Beths, by Jeff Abbott. Abbott (Blame, 2017, etc.) is becoming quite the reader favorite these days, so I'm expecting his latest to be quite popular. When Mariah Dunning's mother, Beth, disappeared over a year ago, Mariah was certain that her mother would never leave her. And despite the lack of evidence, or a body, suspicion for Beth's murder fell on her husband. Mariah is sure she's spotted her mother across a crowded food court, and begins to search for answers with renewed vigor--she must find her mother and clear her father's name. But when she discovers that two other women, both also named Beth, have disappeared from the area, Mariah may have to face a devastating truth. If you're looking for a gripping thriller this fall, this would be a great choice. Also available in Large Print

Desperate Measures, by Stuart Woods. Stone Barrington hits the city that never sleeps in Woods's latest. Upon returning from a jaunt to Europe, Stone makes the acquaintance of a captivating woman, only to quickly discover that a series of crimes may continue...with her as the next target. Fans cannot get enough.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Reading Ahead: October 2018, part 2

It is staggering the sheer quantity of excellent new fiction being published next month. Get your reading muscles ready!

Every Breath, by Nicholas Sparks. A chance encounter becomes a touchstone for two very different individuals in Sparks's latest. Hope is at a personal crossroads. At thirty-six, her six year relationship with a successful surgeon shows no signs of moving toward the altar, and when her father is diagnosed with ALS, she returns to North Carolina to care for him and to reassess the direction of her life. Tru Walls, a safari guide born and raised in Zimbabwe, finds himself summoned to North Carolina by a man claiming to be his father. He chooses to go primarily in hopes of resolving some of the mysteries about his mother's past, mysteries that seemed hopelessly unsolvable following her death. When Tru and Hope meet, it will mean a personal battle for each of them, that of family duty versus personal happiness. Also available in Large Print

Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver. Present day, out-of-work journalist Willa is trying to keep her household together, four generations living together in their falling-down house. She delves into the old home's history in hopes that recognition from the historical register will mean money for much-needed repairs and restoration. In her research, though, she finds the story of a previous owner, 1870s science teacher Thatcher, who ran into major pushback for teaching Darwinism. Kingsolver fans should put their requests in now. Also available in Large Print

A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult. When a lone gunman, seeking vengeance for his daughter's abortion, starts taking hostages at the women's reproductive clinic, police hostage-negotiator has more on the line than normal in such a high-stakes encounter: his own daughter, Wren, is inside the facility. I'm expecting demand for this to be huge.

The Fox, by Frederick Forsyth. After a brilliant English teen hacker orchestrates brutal cyberattacks on the CIA, the Pentagon, and the NSA--just for fun--it's decided that rather than prosecute him, they'll recruit him in order to undermine American enemies. This new thriller from Forsyth (The Kill List, etc.) is chillingly bleeding-edge.

The Clockmaker's Daughter, by Kate Morton. Morton (The Lake House, etc.) takes us back across the decades in her latest. In contemporary London, archivist Elodie Winslow is intrigued when she comes across the following items in her employer's collection: a satchel, an antique photograph of a woman in Victorian garb, and a sketch of a country house. The sketch in particular catches her interest: it reminds her of the magical house her late mother used to tell her stories about. When she discovers the house itself, it is only natural to start digging into its secrets, some of which have been buried for over a century. Morton is an excellent storyteller, and historical fiction fans will want to add this to their lists.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Reading Ahead: October 2018, part 1

New titles from some of our favorite best-selling authors? Yes, please!

The Reckoning, by John Grisham. Peter Banning was Clanton, Mississippi's favorite son--a decorated World War II hero, a farmer, father, and neighbor. The patriarch of a prominent family. And then one cool October morning, he walked into the church and shot his best friend and pastor, Reverend Dexter Bell. As shocking as the crime is Peter's refusal to comment--all he will say to anyone, from sheriff to lawyer to judge is "I have nothing to say." A Southern gothic unlike anything Grisham has brought readers previously, this may yet increase Grisham's legion of fans exponentially.  Also available in Large Print

Dark Sacred Night, by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch just cannot stay retired. Night beat Det. Renee Ballard (The Late Show, 2017) returns to the Hollywood Station to find Bosch rifling through old files, obsessed with a cold case involving the murder of a 15-year-old runaway. After a rocky first encounter, the two team up--both are outsiders with complicated pasts and something to prove. Should make for some interesting reading! Also available in Large Print

The Witch Elm, by Tana French. In this stand-alone novel from extraordinary thriller writer French, Toby, happy-go-lucky and charming, is out for a night of celebrating with friends, then comes home to a burglary in progress. The burglars beat him and leave him for dead, and during Toby's long, painful recovery, he must come to terms with the possibility that he may never be the man he was. Retreating to his ancestral home for his own recovery and to spend time with an ailing uncle seems like a good idea...until a skull is found in a tree on the estate grounds. French may be the best writer you're not reading, yet. Also available in Large Print

Holy Ghost, by John Sandford. In the small town of Pinion, MN, the mayor and his sidekick manufacture an appearance of the Virgin Mary, expecting it to become a draw for pilgrims and a new stream of revenue for the floundering little town. Instead, a sniper turns his sites on the resulting adoring masses, and that brings Virgil Flowers in to investigate. Fans won't want to miss it. Also available in Large Print.

Ambush, by James Patterson and James O. Born. Latest in Patterson's Michael Bennett series (following 2017's Haunted) finds two cartels battling it out for New York City's opiod trade. Too bad for them: Detective Michael Bennett is on the case, and they'll only win over his dead body. Too bad for Bennett--the cartels accept his terms. Also available in Large Print.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

What I've Been Reading: August 2018

It has been a busy reading month for me! I'm glad I use Goodreads.com to track what I read, though, because when it comes time to write up one of these posts, my memory is NOT what it used to be!

The Wife, by Meg Wolitzer. World-famous novelist Joe Castleman and his wife, Joan, have kept a secret from the world for decades. The novel opens as the couple travels to Helsinki for Joe to receive a prestigious award. Joan, who has spent their entire relationship stifling her own career to fan the flames of Joe's writing, and his ego, has finally had enough. A story of the choices we make and the repercussions far down the road, this was a compelling and captivating read. I love readers who can surprise me, and Wolitzer had surprises aplenty in store for me here. Very highly recommended.

How to Keep a Secret, by Sarah Morgan. Three generations of women brought together by crisis finally have to deal with the secrets they've kept from one another. Matriarch Nancy has been holding onto the family home despite dire financial straits, and that's just the beginning of what she hasn't told either of her daughters. Lauren's perfect life turns out to be more facade than fact, and when she must head back to her roots for both herself and her daughter Mack, the stark reality of their plight hits home. Lauren's sister Jenna keeps a trademark smile plastered on her face, but look a little deeper and she's hiding something from those she loves most. A fast, intriguing read--I very much enjoyed it.

The Bookshop of Yesterdays, by Amy Meyerson. Miranda Brooks spent her childhood exploring the stacks of her Uncle Billy's bookstore, following clues in his ubiquitous scavenger hunts through the shelves and volumes. Until she's twelve, and mysterious falling out between her mother and Billy causes her uncle to disappear from her life. She doesn't hear from him again until sixteen years later, when he dies and leaves one final scavenger hunt for Miranda to follow. The journey toward solving his final puzzle leads Miranda to speak to people from Billy's past, and in the process, uncover the secret that tore her family apart years ago. Part mystery, part bibliophile's delight, this was excellent.

The Sun Does Shine, by Anthony Ray Hinton. In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Hinton knew this was a case of mistaken identity and had an alibi, but a combination of a lack of funds to pay for his defense and a different system of justice for a poor black man in rural Alabama lost Hinton everything--he received a death sentence. Full of despair and refusing to speak for his first three years of incarceration, Hinton eventually came to the decision to not only live on Death Row, but thrive. A story of a man who fought for his life and for his freedom, fiercely believing that the truth would ultimately set him free, which did indeed happen in 2015, with the help of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson. Intense and deeply thought-provoking.

Whistle in the Dark, by Emma Healey. While on holiday together, Jen's teenage daughter Lana goes missing. When she's finally found four days later, she's bruised, bloodied, exhausted, and all but mute. She cannot, or will not, tell her parents, doctors, or police where she was or what happened while she was missing. In the weeks that follow, Jen becomes increasingly worried about her daughter, the child who has always been plagued by dark demons. Without telling her daughter, or the rest of her family, where she is going, Jen sets out to retrace Lana's steps during her disappearance, with a result she hadn't imagined.

The Other Mother, by Carol Goodman. In the months following the birth of little Chloe, her mother Daphne has suffered from dark moods and intrusive thoughts. It seems natural for her to bond immediately with another mother, Laurel, from their new moms group. After all, Laurel also has a daughter named Chloe. And Daphne and Laurel even look a little bit alike. Outwardly, Laurel is sarcastic and confident, but it turns out that she's also suffering from postpartum symptoms. But becoming friends with Laurel will come at a shocking price, and everyone's secrets will out. Don't blink while you read this--it is packed full of so many twists!

The Lost For Words Bookshop, by Stephanie Butland. Loveday Cardew prefers books to most people. While she has tattooed her favorite opening lines on her skin, there are so many things she refuses to share with others. And then the secondhand bookstore where she works, her second home, begins to funnel things to her she'd never thought to see: a poet, a lover, and three donations of books which may expose her secret past once and for all. I am a sucker for fiction written with bibliophiles in mind, and this has to be one of my favorites to date. Fans of books like The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry or Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore should check this one out.

Pieces of Her, by Karin Slaughter. Andrea isn't sure of a lot of things. Like what she wants to do with her life. But she is certain she knows her mother, Laura. At least, she thinks she does until violence erupts in the mall while she's out to lunch with her mom and her mother turns out to be someone very different from the mild-mannered speech therapist Andrea has always known. And as Laura's past as someone other than Laura resurfaces, Andrea must flee, both to stay safe, but also to uncover Laura's past and make sense of the sudden shift in her reality. Meticulously plotted and fast-paced, this was a great stand-alone title from Slaughter.

A Noise Downstairs, by Linwood Barclay. When an ordinary evening drive nearly kills college professor Paul Davis, it's devastating. Months later, he's still struggling with recovery. There's the depression, the PTSD, the occasional memory lapses. In an attempt to cheer him, his wife Charlotte brings home a present: an antique typewriter. This present, however, seems possessed, haunting Paul with phantom typing noises only he can here. Is it communicating a message meant for him? Is he cracking up completely? Or is there something eminently more sinister at work here? Full of plot twists and red herrings aplenty, I have to say I think that this is one of Barclay's best in recent years. Highly recommended.

Not a Poster Child, by Francine Falk-Allen. You're not dreaming. I really did read two memoirs in one month. Weird, right? While polio is back in the news due to the anti-vaccination movement after over a half-century fading into near-obscurity in this country, it has never been forgotten by those who still experience its effects. Francine Falk-Allen was only three when she contracted polio and temporarily lost the ability to stand or walk. Here she recounts her experiences with hospitals, treatments, braces, and her determination to be a "normie". And later, as an adult, how she found balance and fulfillment in multiple ways. An eye-opening account of living with a physical disability, both funny and thoughtful.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Meg's Picks: September 2018, part 3

Sometimes it's a little overwhelming, looking so far ahead as I order new books for the library. (I'm already beginning to order titles for the beginning of 2019, to give you an idea.) But sometimes, like a heat wave at the end of August, it's nice to be able to look ahead and know that with great new September fiction will also, hopefully, come cooler temperatures!

The Forbidden Place, by Susanne Jansson. For fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, this chilling debut novel should be on your reading list. Biologist Nathalie grew up near the peat bogs in Mossmarken, Sweden--centuries ago, humans were sacrificed to the gods along the edge of the mire. Now returning after years away, Nathalie has two tasks ahead of her: research the mire, and also put to rest the trauma from her childhood. Then a man's unconscious body is found on the bog's edge, like a sacrifice of old. It's only a matter of time before secrets rise to the surface, for Nathalie, the village and the bog itself.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf, by Helen Cullen. In Cullen's intriguing debut, lost letters wind up in the Dead Letters Depot. Here, letter detectives survey missing zip codes, smudgy ink, terrible handwriting, and other postal mysteries in an effort to get these letters to their intended recipients. One detective becomes enthralled with the circumstances surrounding correspondence addressed only to "My Greatest Love". I'm recommending this to readers who liked Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop or Sarah Blake's The Postmistress. Also, this could make for an excellent book club read!

The Boy at the Keyhole, by Stephen Giles. I love neogothic novels, things that hearken back to authors like Daphne Du Maurier and Shirley Jackson. Lately I've been obsessed with Carol Goodman's work. And I think The Boy at the Keyhole will join these ranks in short order. In the old house, this cast of two features housekeeper Ruth and young Samuel, whose father has passed away leaving the family steel business floundering. His much-adored mother has gone to America, seeking investors. At least, that is the story Ruth has told Samuel, though his mother never said goodbye and has yet to write any letters. As time wears on without word from America, Samuel begins to concoct scenarios in which the deeply unpleasant Ruth has murdered his mother, and he begins his detective work to finally uncover the truth...whatever that may be. If you like your horror subtle and full of haunting dread, this should be on your reading list this fall--perfect for a stormy autumn evening!

Leave No Trace, by Mindy Mejia. From the author of Everything You Want Me to Be (2017). Following personal tragedy that led to a bad decision and some serious repercussions, twenty-three year-old Maya Stark is a newly minted speech therapist who has straightened herself out and knows just how lucky she is to have come so far. Working for a psychiatric hospital in Minnesota, she becomes acquainted with new patient Lucas who, at nineteen, has been missing for ten years after disappearing into the woods with his father. Her first encounter results in one of Lucas's escape attempts, but as he's non-verbal and unresponsive to most people, Maya agrees to take him on as a patient. Lucas's story slowly comes out as he and Maya form a bond...and Maya's own story eventually surfaces as well. For those who love their psychological fiction with well-drawn characters, this is a natural choice.

Enjoy the holiday weekend! I'll be back next week to share what I've been reading in August.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Meg's Picks: September 2018, part 2

Can I tell you? These are my favorite posts to write, when I get to share titles that I've been anticipating for months, and I finally get to share them with you!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris. Originally intended as a screeplay, this debut novel is based on the author's series of interviews with Holocaust survivor Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who was forced to tattoo his fellow inmate in Auschwitz-Berkenau. Becoming ill and left for dead, Sokolov is saved by a fellow inmate and vows to not only learn his savior's trade, but also to pay the kindness forward, assisting others in the midst of horrific brutality. Already an international bestseller, this is slated to be one of this fall's most in-demand titles. If you were a fan of books like Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale or Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls, I highly recommend placing your hold on The Tattooist of Auschwitz now.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, by Hank Green. Brother of bestselling YA author John Green (The Fault In Our Stars, etc.), Hank Green makes his debut with an adult fiction title that defies genre description. Coming home from work late one evening, April May stumbles upon a giant transformer-like sculpture. Is it street-art? A robot? With the help of her friend Andy, April records video as she climbs around on the statue (they've named him Carl), which is apparently the first of many to appear world-wide. The next day, April wakes to find that the video has gone viral and she's instantly famous, but at what cost? There is huge buzz on this title, and I'm recommending it for fans of Andy Weir (The Martian, Artemis), Ernest Cline (Ready Player One, etc.) and Sylvain Neuvel (The Themis Files).

When the Lights Go Out, by Mary Kubica. After spending her teen years caring for her terminally ill mother, Jessie Sloane is trying to find a way forward in her life as an orphan. When she tries to apply to community college, she's informed that her social security number actually belongs to a girl who died seventeen years ago. Jessie has no one to ask--she never knew her father. She also doesn't drive, so she doesn't have a license, and she can't find her birth certificate. Insomnia compounded by stress and grief takes its toll, even as Jessie digs into the past of her mother, Eden, in an attempt to find the truth behind her own identity. Kubica has been developing a strong following with past novels (The Good Girl, Every Last Lie, etc.), and I'm expecting this latest to add to her list of fans.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Meg's Picks: September 2018, part 1

Need something new to get your reading juju going again? I have some suggestions! Great sequels, twisted debuts, heart-pounding thrillers? Sounds good to me!

Vengeful, by V.E. Schwab. I am particularly eager to get my hands on Schwab's new novel, sequel to her excellent 2013 novel Vicious, which turned superhero fiction on its head. Years ago, Victor Vale and Eli Ever were roommates, friends, and mad scientists who discovered, by experimenting on themselves, the ability to create extraordinary abilities in an ordinary human. Armed with memories of betrayal and loss, they met in an epic battle. Now, it is a former sidekick, in full control of her extraordinary powers, who threatens to bring Merit City to its knees, recruiting sidekicks of her own, and pitting Victor and Eli against one another as a means to her own ends. Schwab is a particular favorite of mine, and I highly recommend checking out the first of the Villains novels before diving into this new story.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton. This diabolically inventive, mysterious debut may be just what you're looking for to get out of your reading rut. Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered every night at 11:00 pm. Aiden Bishop is tasked with inhabiting each of the bodies of eight different guests during the shared event in order to identify the killer and finally put an end to the bloody cycle--the life he saves may be his own. For fans of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, this should be a no-brainer.

Cross Her Heart, by Sarah Pinborough. Pinborough's eerie 2017 novel, Behind Her Eyes, was a huge hit with readers. Now, her latest promises to be an encore performance. Single mom Lisa lives for her daughter, Ava, and her best friend, Marilyn. When a handsome new client shows interest her, Lisa begins to daydream. Maybe she's ready to trust again, to try a relationship again. But when a news story involving Lisa and Ava goes viral, Lisa's world implodes and the terrifying secrets from her past come roaring back. A long time ago, Lisa broke a promise. And now? Someone is out to make sure she pays the price.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Reading Ahead: September 2018, part 4

History, the future, mystery, romance... Next month's new releases have it all!

Time's Convert, by Deborah Harkness. Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches (2011), etc., returns fans to Matthew de Clermont's past, when he meets young surgeon Marcus MacNeil on the battlefields of the American Revolution. Eager at the promise of a new, immortal life free of the constraints of his Puritan upbringing, Marcus accepts Matthew's offer, only to find his transition to be difficult in many ways. Fast-forward to the present and a new transition, that of his beloved, Phoebe, to join him in immortality. While the process has been modernized in many ways, the difficulty in trading one's human existence for vampirism is still as pronounced as they were centuries earlier. It is equally troubling that shadows from Marcus's past still haunt him. Historian Harkness can be counted on to tell a great, well-researched tale.

Leverage in Death, by J.D. Robb. Eve Dallas knows who sent marketing VP Paul Rogan into a Wall Street mergers meeting with a bomb strapped to his chest, blowing the place sky-high. The culprits had forced him to do it by holding Rogan's family hostage. But why would someone take that kind of trouble to blow up a meeting room when the same thing could be accomplished by wiring the whole building, or just the floor itself. It's the why that catches Dallas, and then it's the mad chase to catch those responsible and bring them to justice. The series is endlessly entertaining.

A Willing Murder, by Jude Deveraux. Romance novelist Deveraux dips a toe in the mystery genre with her latest outing. When best-selling romance novelist Sara Medlar retires, she buys the mansion she admired as a child in her hometown of Lachlan, FL. It needs some work, so she hires a friend's grandson, Jack, to stay on the property and help her with the renovations. When her niece, Kate, gets a job in the area, Sara offers her a place to stay, too. The unlikely trio make for uneasy roommates, until they find the remains of two women on the property in the aftermath of a storm. United in the pursuit of justice for the women, who had disappeared 20 years earlier, it's now up to Sara, Jack and Kate to try and get to the bottom of things, but a small town never gives up its secrets without a fight.

Why Not Tonight, by Susan Mallery. Third in Mallery's recent Happily, Inc. series, Why Not Tonight (following 2017's Second-Chance Girl). Gallery owner Natalie Kaleta will do anything for her artists. So when she goes out to check on reclusive Ronan Mitchell during a downpour, Murphy's Law means that a mudslide cuts her off from her way home, forcing her to stay with the brooding glass artist. And of course, she kind of has a crush on him already. Is this really the perfect storm for them both? Mallery fans will be delighted.

In His Father's Footsteps, by Danielle Steel. Steel has been stepping outside of her comfort zone in the last few years, and fans have responded very positively. Following this trend, Steel's latest is the tale of two World War II concentration camp survivors, the life they build together, and the son who faces struggles of his own as a first generation American, determined to succeed and forge his own path.