Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Meg's Picks: April 2017, part 1

There's so much to choose from when it comes to extra-special titles I want to share with you every month, it's hard to narrow it down. But today and Thursday this week, I'm sharing the best of the best (in my humble opinion) April titles.

Waking Gods, by Sylvain Neuvel. Sequel to Neuvel's breakout debut, Sleeping Giants (2016). As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force. If you haven't read the first book, I highly recommend it as some of the most imaginative fiction I've read recently. I'd particularly recommend them to fans of Andy Weir's The Martian or Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, for different reasons. This is absolutely on my to-read list for the coming months.

The Perfect Stranger, by Megan Miranda. Following Miranda's breakout hit, 2016's All the Missing Girls, the author returns with another psychological thriller meant to keep readers guessing all the way to the end. Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later. Leah teams up with a young police officer assigned to the case and together they investigate Emmy's life for clues about her disappearance, causing Leah to wonder whether she ever really knew Emmy at all. For that matter, how well does Leah know herself? For fans of Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train), this is an absolute must.

The Shadow Land, by Elizabeth Kostova. In a new novel both vast and deep, Kostova (The Historian, 2005, etc.) spans past and present in a gorgeous but haunted country. A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi—and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes. As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by political oppression—and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger. Part mystery, part historical thriller, I'm recommending this to readers who are looking for something captivatingly different.

The Widow of Wall Street, by Randy Susan Meyers. Meyers (Accidents of Marriage, 2014, etc.) explores the seemingly blind love of a wife for her husband as he conquers Wall Street, and her extraordinary, perhaps foolish, loyalty during his precipitous fall in a tale that mirrors the story of jailed financier Bernard Madoff and his broken family. 
Phoebe recognizes fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers. As he creates a financial dynasty, she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception. When Phoebe learns her husband’s triumph and vast reach rests on an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. As Jake’s crime is uncovered, the world obsesses about Phoebe. Did she know her life was fabricated by fraud? Was she his accomplice? Does she stand by her man or shield her children in the aftermath? A story of survival and redefinition in the wake of personal tragedy--I have every expectation of this being popular in the months to come.

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