Best New Books: Week of 6/12/2018

Last week saw a slew of exciting titles released, so it’s no surprise that this week is a bit quieter. That doesn’t mean there aren’t great books coming out though! We’re getting a trio of buzzy fiction titles, covering a pretty diverse set of topics, and several pulse-pounding suspense novels that are likely to keep people talking all Summer long! So check out the list and then get reading!



FICTION



Bearskin by  James A. McLaughlin

bearskinRice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s found a job protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia where his main responsibilities include tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s hard work, and totally solitary—perfect to hide away from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desperately sought is suddenly at risk.

More bears are killed on the preserve and Rice’s obsession with catching the poachers escalates, leading to hostile altercations with the locals and attention from both the law and Rice’s employers. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan that could expose the poachers but risks revealing his own whereabouts to the dangerous people he was running from in the first place.

James McLaughlin expertly brings the beauty and danger of Appalachia to life. The result is an elemental, slow burn of a novel—one that will haunt you long after you turn the final page.

Description from Goodreads.

“One of the year’s most buzzy, fascinating thrillers. . . . A suspenseful, emotionally resonant journey into one man’s dark past.” – Entertainment Weekly

“A journey into the wilds of Appalachia. . . . Tightly plotted and beautifully written, Bearskin marks an auspicious debut.” – Nylon

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


A Place For Us by  Fatima Farheen Mirza

place for usA Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding–a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son’s estrangement–the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children, and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from.

In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family’s past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent’s faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals.

A deeply affecting and resonant story, A Place for Us is truly a book for our times: a moving portrait of what it means to be an American family today, a novel of love, identity and belonging that eloquently examines what it means to be both American and Muslim-and announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent.

Description from Goodreads.

“Ambitious… a family epic that is textured and keenly felt… Mirza draws Amar’s lifelong struggle with the concept of unconditional devotion so poignantly that readers will find it exceedingly relatable. But so too is the mysterious whisper in his ear urging him always to return, no matter how far he strays, back home.” – New York Times Book Review

“This is a richly detailed, immersive saga that hooks you from the jump and keeps you absorbed even as you spend decades with its characters. A Place for Us is a tender examination of identity and familial roles, of faith, and of what it means to be home.” – Marie Claire 

“Fatima Farheen Mirza’s A Place for Us is everything I love about family sagas. It traverses time and place, explores the conflicts between a parent’s expectation and a child’s desires, and, most importantly, introduces us to fully imagined, flawed characters whose relationships are deep, entangled, and rich in love. The story — which centers on an American Muslim family navigating the tension between tradition and autonomy — is told in fragments, jumping from one character to another, slowly adding layers to scenes by revisiting interactions from multiple perspectives. And Mirza renders this family with a gentle hand, lovingly, so that each character will make their way into your heart.” – Buzzfeed

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Book of Essie by  Meghan MacLean Weir

book of essieEsther Ann Hicks–Essie–is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage–and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media–through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell–Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?

Description from Goodreads.

“A resourceful, resilient teen heroine is at the heart of Meghan MacLean Weir’s propulsive debut novel… Weir, a doctor whose first book was a memoir about her pediatric residency, doles out the details of Essie’s past slowly but steadily, gaining a momentum that keeps the pages turning… Weir is also adept at using the language of evangelical life, lending an authenticity that takes the book beyond a Duggar-family pastiche. The tentative trust that grows between Essie and Roarke gives The Book of Essie emotional depth, and the questions at its center have a surprising moral weight. Readers will root for Essie through every twist and turn of her story.” – BookPage

“The youngest daughter of an Evangelical preacher-turned-reality TV star hatches a plan to wrangle her freedom—and expose the dark truth about her family—in Weir’s debut novel… Deeply sympathetic… well-paced… and the unexpected tenderness between Essie and Roarke gives the novel genuine emotional punch.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



MYSTERY & SUSPENSE



Jar of Hearts by  Jennifer Hillier

jar of heartsThis is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

Description from Goodreads.

“It’s not often that a mystery features such a fresh plot. Jennifer Hillier’s thrilling, and quite terrifying, Jar of Hearts is definitely not something you’ve read before…The answers will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers.” – Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Mesmerizing… Find a comfortable chair because you won’t move until the last page.” – Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

“Engrossing…there’s no denying her page-turner’s grab-you-by-the-throat power.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book


Lying in Wait by  Liz Nugent

lying in waityMy husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.

For fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn, this novel is a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre” (Sunday Mirror).

Description from Goodreads.

“A devastating psychological thriller… Lydia is the most intriguing puzzle; equal parts victim and villain, she simultaneously inspires pity, outrage, and horror. The result is an exquisitely uncomfortable, utterly captivating reading experience.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Nugent introduces an unforgettable cast of characters in this tour de force…astonishing….everyone should grab it the second it appears.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Woman in the Woods by  John Connolly

woman in the woodsIn the beautiful Maine woods, a partly preserved body is discovered. Investigators realize that the dead young woman gave birth shortly before her death. But there is no sign of a baby.

Private detective Charlie Parker is hired by a lawyer to shadow the police investigation and find the infant but Parker is not the only searcher. Someone else is following the trail left by the woman, someone with an interest in much more than a missing child…someone prepared to leave bodies in his wake.

And in a house by the woods, a toy telephone begins to ring and a young boy is about to receive a call from a dead woman.

Description from Goodreads.

“Fans will agree that this is Connolly’s masterpiece.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“This haunting thriller will keep you reading into the night with the lights on and the phone turned off.” – RT Book Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


The Pharaoh Key by  Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

pharaoh keyGideon Crew–brilliant scientist, master thief, intrepid adventurer–is shocked when his former employer, Eli Glinn, vanishes without a trace, and Glinn’s high-tech lab Effective Engineering Solutions shuts down seemingly overnight.

Fresh off a diagnosis that gives him only months to live, Crew is contacted by one of his former coworkers at EES, Manuel Garza, who has a bead on one final treasure hinted at in EES’s final case, the long-awaited translation of a centuries-old stone tablet of a previously undiscovered civilization: The Phaistos Disc.

What lies at the end of the trail will either save Gideon’s life–or bring it to a sudden, shocking close. Crew once again faces incredible odds–but as Gideon has proved again and again, there’s no such thing as too great a risk when you’re living on borrowed time.

Description from Goodreads.

“One wild, series-ending adventure…. cleverly plotted…This is a great cap on the series.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Fast-paced, well-written, and loads of fun.” – The Real Book Spy

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook

 

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