Best New Books: Week of 7/31/2018

If you love mystery or suspense, today is your lucky day, as there are 5 titles arriving at the library that have been receiving lots of critical acclaim, including some by some pretty popular authors like Alexander McCall Smith and Catherine Coulter. If you like literary fiction a little more, it’s not a bad week for you either, with 3 new titles being released about everything from life in Columbia during a time of intense political upheaval, to a woman who chases her dreams in California wine country, to a comedic tale of twin detectives who share the same body. We also have 1 new historical fiction title and a beautifully illustrated kid’s book about space travel. No matter what you have planned this week, you’re going to want to make sure you make time to squeeze in at least one these great stories!



FICTION



Fruit of the Drunken Tree by  Ingrid Rojas Contreras

fruit of the drunken treeThe Santiago family lives in a gated community in Bogotá, safe from the political upheaval terrorizing the country. Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to this protective bubble, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation.

When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city’s guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona’s mysterious ways. But Petrona’s unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the rip tide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls’ families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal.

Inspired by the author’s own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different, but inextricable coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras sheds light on the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.

Description from Goodreads.

“Original, politically daring, and passionately written–Fruit of the Drunken Tree is the coming-of-age female empowerment story we need in 2018.” – Vogue

“…sensitive and thoughtful…” The New York Times

“This striking novel offers an atmospheric journey into the narrow choices for even a wealthy family as society crumbles around them.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

eBook


This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us by  Edgar Cantero

this body's not big enough for both of usIn a dingy office in Fisherman’s Wharf, the glass panel in the door bears the names of A. Kimrean and Z. Kimrean. Private Eyes. Behind the door there is only one desk, one chair, one scrawny androgynous P.I. in a tank top and skimpy waistcoat. A.Z., as they are collectively known, are twin brother and sister. He’s pure misanthropic logic, she’s wild hedonistic creativity. A.Z. have been locked in mortal battle since they were in utero…which is tricky because they, very literally, share one single body. That’s right. One body, two pilots. The mystery and absurdity of how Kimrean functions, and how they subvert every plotline, twist, explosion, and gunshot–and confuse every cop, neckless thug, cartel boss, ninja, and femme fatale–in the book is pure Cantero magic.

Someone is murdering the sons of the ruthless drug cartel boss known as the Lyon in the biggest baddest town in California–San Carnal. The notorious A.Z. Kimrean must go to the sin-soaked, palm-tree-lined streets of San Carnal, infiltrate the Lyon’s inner circle, and find out who is targeting his heirs, and while they are at it, rescue an undercover cop in too deep, deal with a plucky young stowaway, and stop a major gang war from engulfing California. They’ll face every plot device and break every rule Elmore Leonard wrote before they can crack the case, if they don’t kill each other (themselves) first.

This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us is a mind-blowing, gender-bending, genre-smashing romp through the entire pantheon of action and noir. It is also a bold, tautly crafted novel about family, being weird, and claiming your place in your own crazy story, that can only come from the mind of Edgar Cantero.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] winning spoof…Literary references (Bret Easton Ellis, John Grisham, and Ayn Rand in one sentence), clever quips (“an arrogance of college jocks”), and bad puns (a carpenter who loses his tools is a “saw loser”) keep the pages turning. Few will be able to resist Cantero’s broad, quirky humor.” – Publishers Weekly

“…a raunchy, vulgar, hilarious take on the hard-boiled detective/noir mystery with a Jekyll and Hyde twist… I loved this book so, so much and spent more time laughing out loud than I probably should have during a murder investigation. I cannot wait to read it again.” – Murder by the Book

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Shortest Way Home by  Miriam Parker

shortest way homeAfter years of dreaming of and working toward a life more stable than the one she grew up in, Hannah is finally about to have everything she ever wanted. With a high-paying job, an apartment in Manhattan, and a boyfriend about to propose, all she and Ethan have to do is make it through the last couple of weeks of grad school, and the future they had planned will be theirs to keep.

But when they take a romantic weekend trip to Sonoma, and Hannah is spontaneously offered a marketing job at the first (and seemingly financially unstable) winery they visit and doesn’t immediately refuse, their meticulously planned forever comes crashing down around them. And then Hannah impulsively does the unthinkable–she turns down her job in New York and decides to stay in California.

Abandoning your dream job and life shouldn’t feel this good. But for Hannah, it is an eye-opening experience; and she realizes that maybe, after all her dream-chasing, she hasn’t actually been caring for herself. And this new life certainly seems like a dream come true–living in a picturesque cottage overlooking a vineyard in lush Sonoma; new friends with pasts and hopes the likes of which she’s never encountered before; and William, the handsome son of the winery owners and an aspiring film director who captures Hannah’s heart only to leave the very city she let go.

The mission to rescue the failing winery becomes a mission to rescue Hannah from the image of herself she thought she wanted. The young girl who ached to escape Iowa and leave her past behind for a glamorous life is now given the chance to come to terms with the upbringing that made her who she is.

The Shortest Way Home is a heartwarming story of one woman who sheds expectations in order to claim her own happy ending.

Description from Goodreads.

“Just purely delightful and as smooth to knock back as a glass of rosé on a sticky summer day….There are unexpected challenges and a star-crossed romance and all of the things which you want in a summer book about leaving your life and starting over somewhere new (especially when it’s somewhere straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie!)….Refreshing and bright, with a clean, crisp aftertaste.” – Nylon

“This is a fast read and a fun summer fantasy. Especially if the idea of waking up in wine country every day sounds as good to you as it does to me.” – Miami Herald Books

“Parker’s debut is a sweet, funny, charming novel of a woman daring to upend expectations (her own and everyone else’s) to make her own way. Readers will toast Hannah’s roundabout journey and perhaps be inspired to take a detour or two of their own.” – Shelf Awareness

Available Formats:

Print Book



MYSTERY & SUSPENSE



Paradox by  Catherine Coulter

paradoxWith unparalleled suspense and her trademark explosive twists, #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter delves into the terrifying mind of an escaped mental patient obsessed with revenge in this next installment of her riveting FBI series. When he fails to kidnap five-year-old Sean Savich, agents Sherlock and Savich know they’re in his crosshairs and must find him before he continues with his ‘kill’ list.

Chief Ty Christie of Willicott, Maryland, witnesses a murder at dawn from the deck of her cottage on Lake Massey. When dragging the lake, not only do the divers find the murder victim, they also discover dozens of bones. Even more shocking is the identification of a unique belt buckle found among the bones. Working together with Chief Christie, Savich and Sherlock soon discover a frightening connection between the bones and the escaped psychopath.

Paradox is a chilling mix of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, old secrets that refuse to stay buried, and ruthless greed that keep Savich and Sherlock and Chief Ty Christie working at high speed to uncover the truth before their own bones end up at the bottom on the lake.

Description from Goodreads.

“Pulse-pounding…Coulter fans will have a tough time putting this one down.” – Publishers Weekly

“Eerie, unsettling, and breathlessly terrifying, Paradox is another gripping read from Catherine Coulter, who, at twenty-two books into her bestselling series and counting, shows no signs whatsoever of slowing down anytime soon.” – The Real Book Spy

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | eBook


She Was the Quiet One by  Michelle Campbell

she was the quiet oneWhen twin sisters Rose and Bel Enright enroll in The Odell School, a prestigious New Hampshire boarding school, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. But the sisters could not be more different. The school brings out a rivalry between them that few ever knew existed. And the school itself has a dark underbelly: of privileged kids running unchecked and uninhibited; of rituals and traditions that are more sinister than they seem; of wealth and entitlement that can only lead to disaster.

For Sarah Donovan, wife of an ambitious teacher who is determined to rise through the ranks, Odell also seems like the best thing that could happen to their small family. But how well does she really know her husband? What lengths will he go to to achieve his goals? And when one dark night ends in murder, who is guilty, who knows the truth, and who has been in on it all along? She Was the Quiet One. Because murderers are almost never who you expect.

Description from Goodreads.

“Campbell’s skillful characterization and her shocking final twist make this follow-up to It’s Always the Husband well worthwhile. Readers who enjoyed Simone St. James’ boarding-school mystery, The Broken Girls, should give this a try.” – Booklist

“Readers will… be drawn in to the novel’s intricate exploration of divided loyalties and the brittleness of trust.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Quiet Side of Passion by  Alexander McCall Smith

quiet side of passionIsabel finds herself befriended by Patricia, a single mother whose son, Basil, goes to school with Isabel’s son. Isabel discovers that Basil is the product of an affair Patricia had with a well-known Edinburgh organist, also named Basil, who was, rumor has it, initially reluctant to contribute financially to the child’s upkeep. Though Isabel doesn’t really like Patricia, she tries to be civil and supportive, but when she sees Patricia in the company of an unscrupulous man who may be a wanted criminal, her suspicions are aroused and she begins to investigate the paternity of Basil Jr.

When Isabel takes her suspicions to Basil Sr., she finds that, although he is paying child support and wishes he could have more of a relationship with Basil Jr., Patricia has no interest in Basil Sr. taking a more hands-on role in Basil Jr.’s parenting, even as she continues to accept his financial support. Should Isabel help someone who doesn’t want to be helped?

As Isabel navigates this ethically-complex situation, she is also dealing with her niece, Cat, who has taken up with a brawny and opinionated tattoo shop clerk. Isabel considers herself open-minded, but has Cat pushed it too far this time? As ever, Isabel must use her kindness and keen intelligence to determine the right course of action.

In this twelfth full-length installment of Isabel’s story, McCall Smith gives his readers what we want–time inside the mind of one of fiction’s most richly developed women detectives, a visit to Edinburgh, and a twisting and tangled mystery about what responsibility humans owe to each other.

Description from Goodreads.

“This book luxuriates in interesting conversations, character quirks, mystery, danger, and most of all, thinking.” – The Christian Science Monitor

“A funny, thoughtful book with a lot of heart.” – Scottish Field

Available Formats:

Print Book


Bloody Sunday by  Ben Coes

bloody sundayNorth Korea, increasingly isolated from most of the rest of the world, is led by an absolute dictator and a madman with a major goal―he’s determined to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. While they have built, and continue to successfully test nuclear bombs, North Korea has yet to develop a ballistic missile with the range necessary to attack America. But their missiles are improving, reaching a point where the U.S. absolutely must respond.

What the U.S. doesn’t know is that North Korea has made a deal with Iran. In exchange for effective missiles from Iran, they will trade nuclear triggers and fissionable material. An exchange, if it goes through, that will create two new nuclear powers, both with dangerous plans.

Dewey Andreas, still reeling from recent revelations about his own past, is ready to retire from the CIA. But he’s the only available agent with the skills to carry out the CIA’s plan to stop North Korea. The plan is to inject a singular designer poison into the head of the North Korean military and in exchange for the nuclear plans, provide him with the one existing dose of the antidote. But it goes awry when Dewey manages to inject a small amount of the poison into himself. Now, to survive, Dewey must get into North Korea and access the antidote and, while there, thwart the nuclear ambitions of both North Korea and Iran. And he has less than 24 hours to do so―in the latest thriller from Ben Coes.

Description from Goodreads.

“Excellent…the best entry in the series so far.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Coes has written another outstanding black-ops thriller that holds readers with believable characters, a charismatic lead, and compelling narrative drive.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


A Double Life by  Flynn Berry

double lifeClaire is a hardworking doctor leading a simple, quiet life in London. She is also the daughter of the most notorious murder suspect in the country, though no one knows it.

Nearly thirty years ago, while Claire and her brother slept upstairs, a brutal crime was committed in her family’s townhouse. The next morning, her father’s car was found abandoned near the English Channel, with bloodstains on the front seat. Her mother insisted she’d seen him in the house that night, but his powerful, privileged friends maintained his innocence. The first lord accused of murder in more than a century, he has been missing ever since.

When the police tell Claire they’ve found him, her carefully calibrated existence begins to fracture. She doesn’t know if she’s the daughter of a murderer or a wronged man, but Claire will soon learn how far she’ll go to finally find the truth.

Loosely inspired by one of the most notorious unsolved crimes of the 20th century – the Lord Lucan case – A Double Life is at once a riveting page-turner and a moving reflection on women and violence, trauma and memory, and class and privilege.

Description from Goodreads.

“Breathtaking . . . Berry writes thrillingly . . . about women raging against a world that protects cruel and careless men. . . . As desperate and consumed as our messy heroine may get in the process, Berry always lets her hold onto her humanity. . . . The writing is rich and moody . . . as blistering as it is lush . . . and the ending is as shocking as it is satisfying.” – The New York Times Book Review

“Psychological suspense has a new reigning queen.” – New York Journal of Books

“[An] engrossing psychological thriller . . . [that] builds to a shocking but satisfying conclusion. Berry tells this shattering story with surprising grace.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



HISTORICAL FICTION



Chariot on the Mountain by  Jack Ford

chariot on the mountainTwo decades before the Civil War, a middle-class farmer named Samuel Maddox lies on his deathbed. Elsewhere in his Virginia home, a young woman named Kitty knows her life is about to change. She is one of the Maddox family’s slaves–and Samuel’s biological daughter. When Samuel’s wife, Mary, inherits her husband’s property, she will own Kitty too, along with Kitty’s three small children.

Already in her fifties and with no children of her own, Mary Maddox has struggled to accept her husband’s daughter, a strong-willed, confident, educated woman who works in the house and has been treated more like family than slave. After Samuel’s death, Mary decides to grant Kitty and her children their freedom, and travels with them to Pennsylvania, where she will file papers declaring Kitty’s emancipation. Helped on their perilous flight by Quaker families along the Underground Railroad, they finally reach the free state. But Kitty is not yet safe.

Dragged back to Virginia by a gang of slave-catchers led by Samuel’s own nephew, who is determined to sell her and her children, Kitty takes a defiant step: charging the younger Maddox with kidnapping and assault. On the surface, the move is brave yet hopeless. But Kitty has allies–her former mistress, Mary, and Fanny Withers, a rich and influential socialite who is persuaded to adopt Kitty’s cause and uses her resources and charm to secure a lawyer. The sensational trial that follows will decide the fate of Kitty and her children–and bond three extraordinary yet very different women together in their quest for justice.

Based on little-known true events and brought vividly to life by Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist Jack Ford, here is an astonishing account of a time when the traditions of the Old South still thrived, a treacherous journey toward freedom–and a testament to determination, friendship, and courage.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] suspenseful and affecting novel from Ford…The climax of the book is a riveting 1846 court case – the first in history in which a slave brings a lawsuit against a white man…The author adeptly depicts a little-known slice of American legal history.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



CHILDREN’S



Tiny Little Rocket by  Richard Collingridge

tiny little rocketThere’s a tiny little rocket that will take you to the stars.
It only flies there once a year but zips you out past Mars.
Its fins are solid silver with a door made out of gold.
There’s a cozy pilot seat inside for a person young or old.

Climb aboard for a bedtime picture book.

Description from Goodreads.

“The peppy, little rocket—quickly dodging glowing meteors, navigating between vibrant planets, and zooming readers home to Earth—will leave adventurers eager for more journeys into outer space.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“This book will certainly become a favourite for budding astronauts and those young children fascinated by space.” – Reading Zone

“Fun and eventful, Tiny Little Rocket has engaging illustrations, an educational focus, and challenges readers to be the navigator on their own adventure through some of space’s toughest, but most exciting spots.” – YA Book Central

Available Formats:

Print Book

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s