Best New Books: Week of 10/30/2018

Happy Halloween everybody! Between all of the parties and candy we hope you can make some time for a good book, especially since there are a lot of them coming out this week! There’s an eerie but uplifting novella by Stephen King, along with a supernatural thriller by Joseph Fink. For those who want something a little less scary, there’s a pair of steamy romance novels, along with a sweeping family drama, 2 mysteries, 2 nonfiction books, and a cookbook. Of course, the young ones aren’t left out either, as we get the beginning of a new YA fantasy story, a tween drama, and 2 picture books. So put down that chocolate bar and get reading!



FICTION



Family Trust by  Kathy Wang

family trustMeet Stanley Huang: father, husband, ex-husband, man of unpredictable tastes and temper, aficionado of all-inclusive vacations and bargain luxury goods, newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For years, Stanley has claimed that he’s worth a small fortune. But the time is now coming when the details of his estate will finally be revealed, and Stanley’s family is nervous.

For his son Fred, the inheritance Stanley has long alluded to would soothe the pain caused by years of professional disappointment. By now, the Harvard Business School graduate had expected to be a financial tech god – not a minor investor at a middling corporate firm, where he isn’t even allowed to fly business class.

Stanley’s daughter, Kate, is a middle manager with one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious tech companies. She manages the capricious demands of her world-famous boss and the needs of her two young children all while supporting her would-be entrepreneur husband (just until his startup gets off the ground, which will surely be soon). But lately, Kate has been sensing something amiss; just because you say you have it all, it doesn’t mean that you actually do.

Stanley’s second wife, Mary Zhu, twenty-eight years his junior, has devoted herself to making her husband comfortable in every way—rubbing his feet, cooking his favorite dishes, massaging his ego. But lately, her commitment has waned; caring for a dying old man is far more difficult than she expected.

Linda Liang, Stanley’s first wife, knows her ex better than anyone. She worked hard for decades to ensure their financial security, and is determined to see her children get their due. Single for nearly a decade, she might finally be ready for some romantic companionship. But where does a seventy-two year old Chinese woman in California go to find an appropriate boyfriend?

As Stanley’s death approaches, the Huangs are faced with unexpected challenges that upend them and eventually lead them to discover what they most value. A compelling tale of cultural expectations, career ambitions and our relationships with the people who know us best, Family Trust skewers the ambition and desires that drive Silicon Valley and draws a sharply loving portrait of modern American family life.

Description from Goodreads.

“Astute…[Wang] brings levity and candor to the tricky terrain of family dynamics, aging, and excess [and] expertly considers the values of high-tech high society.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Readers who enjoy complicated novels about family issues will find this engrossing work impossible to put down.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“At once a Chinese-American story, a Silicon Valley story, and a family saga with great characters and robust storytelling. It’s smart and wickedly funny, too, which is a winning combination.” – Bookreporter.com

Available Formats:

Print Book



MYSTERY



Dark Sacred Night by  Michael Connelly

dark sacred nightRenée Ballard is working the night beat again, and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out, but then checks into the case herself and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger.

Bosch is investigating the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy and finally bring her killer to justice.

Description from Goodreads.

Dark Sacred Night is one of the best and most affecting Bosch novels since Mr. Connelly began the saga in 1992, underscoring the growing and unsettling ambiguity surrounding its central character.” – The Wall Street Journal

“LAPD Det. Renée Ballard, first seen in 2017’s The Late Show, makes a welcome return in this outstanding, complex police procedural…Bosch and Ballard, both outsiders with complicated pasts, form a perfect partnership in this high spot of Edgar-winner Connelly’s long and distinguished career.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Of the myriad things Connelly does superbly as a crime writer, perhaps one of the least heralded is his ability to bring characters together from different series…A guaranteed chart-topper.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Overkilt by  Kaitlyn Dunnett

overkiltWhile Liss preps the Scottish Emporium for November’s inevitable shopping rush, other local businesses aren’t half as lucky. Year after year, her father-in-law’s rustic hotel can barely turn a profit during the stretch between autumn’s peak and ski season. Except this time, Mr. Ruskin realizes that the recipe for success lies in enticing an untapped niche clientele—childless couples desperate for a holiday away from family . . .

The unusual marketing tactic has everyone in Moosetookalook talking. Unfortunately, it also inspires a scathing social media campaign aimed at persuading tourists to boycott the hotel for affronting family values. Liss dismisses the bad publicity as being totally “overkilt”—until angry mobs fill the streets, the troublemaker who started it all turns up dead, and her loved ones are suspected of murder . . .

With so much at stake, Liss can’t possibly follow police orders to stay out of the investigation. There’s just one wee problem: saving her own clan could mean sending a friend or two behind bars. Now—partly helped, partly hindered by her difficult mother—Liss must digest a slew of unsettling clues and catch the real killer . . . or else everything she’s ever been thankful for may vanish before her eyes.

Description from Goodreads.

“En route to a surprising solution, Dunnett successfully keeps the mystery cozy while not shying away from thought-provoking cultural issues.” – Publishers Weekly

“Dunnett provides small-town charm and a determined sleuth who does a great job uncovering clues in a tale that rings all too true.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book



ROMANCE



Beautiful Sinner by  Sophie Jordan

beautiful sinnerLocked in with the town bad boy . . .

Most women would be scared, but Gabriella’s only worried about resisting Cruz Walsh, who’s even hotter than he was back in high school. Cruz was wrongly accused of the high-profile crime for which he was imprisoned; Gabriella’s desperate for the scoop that will get her career off the ground and get her out of Sweet Hill, where everyone still remembers her as “Flabby Gabby.” Being stuck in a supply closet with Cruz is the perfect opportunity to land an interview. What Bri doesn’t count on is Cruz taking “up-close and personal” to a whole new level.

If there’s a silver lining to the hell Cruz went through, it’s that losing his freedom put everything in perspective. Maybe starting over someplace new would be easier, but after years locked up, Cruz values his family—and his true friends—more than ever. So he’s back home, facing the gossip, dodging reporters . . . and face-to-face with Gabriella Rossi. They’ve both changed: Bri wants a story and Cruz just wants her. Another thing he’s learned? Don’t let a good thing slip away.

Description from Goodreads.

“Jordan is brilliant at creating vivid descriptions and using flashbacks to connect the lovers. Cruz and Gabby are tremendously likable, together and separately, and their unknowingly mutual crush and deep emotional bond will place this masterpiece at the top of any romance reader’s list.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“The would-be high school sweethearts prove that being locked up is much hotter when you’re with the one you love—a bold and lusty installment in the series.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…entertaining, emotional, and steamy.” – Harlequin Junkie

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Big Bad Cowboy by  Carly Bloom

big bad cowboyWho’s afraid of the big, bad cowboy?

After one too many heartbreaks, Travis Blake hung up his cowboy hat and put Big Verde, Texas, behind him. But when he gets the call that his young nephew needs him, he knows he has to return home. His plan is to sell the family ranch and hightail it back to Austin, but there’s a small problem: the one person who stands in his way is the one person he can’t resist.

Maggie is pretty sure she hates Travis Blake. He’s irritating, he’s destroying her business, and . . . and he’s just so frickin’ attractive. But when they’re forced to work together, Maggie discovers that the Most Annoying Man in the World is more than he seems. He’s sweet with his nephew, he helps out in the community, and he makes her heart flutter. Maggie doesn’t want to risk everything on a man who wants to leave, but what if she can convince this wayward cowboy to stay?

Description from Goodreads.

“Fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips will delight in this funny, optimistic, quirky contemporary.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“[It] will draw you in from the very beginning and leave you wanting more with each page you turn. The characters are interesting and relatable, making them easy to fall in love with.” – Fresh Fiction

“…combines the small town romance with a bit of enemies to lovers and a dash of a fairy tale vibe to give you a sexy read! Fans of cowboy romances and single dad tropes will love this!” – The Book Disciple

Available Formats:

Print Book



HORROR



Elevation by  Stephen King

elevationAlthough Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

Description from Goodreads.

“Written in masterly King’s signature translucent style and set in one of his trademark locales, this uncharacteristically glimmering fairy tale calls unabashedly for us to rise above our differences… succinct, magical, timely…charming yet edgy.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“In this surprisingly sweet and quietly melancholy short novel, King weaves an eerie, charming tale of the ways that strange circumstances can bring people together…King’s tender story is perfect for any fan of small towns, magic, and the joys and challenges of doing the right thing.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Joyful, uplifting, and tinged with sadness.” – Entertainment Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | eBook


Alice Isn’t Dead by  Joseph Fink

alices isn't dead“This is not a story. It’s a road trip.”

Keisha Lewis lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system—uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Why did Alice disappear? What does she have to do with this secret war between inhuman killers? Why did the chicken cross the road? These questions, and many more will be answered in Alice Isn’t Dead.

Description from Goodreads.

“While his anxiety is often crippling, Fink has channeled that fear into writing some of the most engrossing supernatural stories out there today. Readers who cope with a similar disposition are sure to identify with the book’s two main characters, Alice and Keisha, who navigate their own anxieties in an exceptionally terrifying atmosphere.” – Booklist

“Ultimately an endorsement of everyday heroism and community, Alice Isn’t Dead resonates as a love story, a road trip novel and a campfire tale that taps into our most primal fears.” – Shelf Awareness

“This spooky third novel by Welcome to Night Vale creator Fink is similarly based on an original podcast and offers a more threatening but equally personal take on the horror genre.  . .. .  A terrifying new storytelling experience that affirms, even in our darkest moments, that love conquers all.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book



NONFICTION



Beastie Boys Book by  Michael Diamond & Adam Horovitz

beastie boys bookFormed as a New York City hardcore band in 1981, Beastie Boys struck an unlikely path to global hip hop superstardom. Here is their story, told for the first time in the words of the band. Adam “AD-ROCK” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond offer revealing and very funny accounts of their transition from teenage punks to budding rappers; their early collaboration with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin; the almost impossible-to-fathom overnight success of their debut studio album Licensed to Ill; that album’s messy fallout; their break with Def Jam, move to Los Angeles, and rebirth as musicians and social activists, with the genre-defying masterpiece Paul’s Boutique. For more than twenty years, this band has had a wide-ranging and lasting influence on popular culture.

With a style as distinctive and eclectic as a Beastie Boys album, Beastie Boys Book upends the typical music memoir. Alongside the band narrative you will find rare photos, original illustrations, a cookbook by chef Roy Choi, a graphic novel, a map of Beastie Boys’ New York, mixtape playlists, pieces by guest contributors, and many more surprises.

Description from Goodreads.

“This entertaining look at Beastie Boys history is as innovative and raucous as the band’s music.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Beastie Boys fans will devour this book, as will anyone interested in the early days of hip-hop, the art/music/street life of New York City in the 1980s, and the alternative-nation zeitgeist of the ’90s.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…a reminder that the Beastie Boys are one of the most enduring and innovative musical acts of the past half century precisely because they are also one of the funniest—at least, to each other.” – The AV Club

Available Formats:

Print Book


Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One by  Anita Lo

soloFrom the Michelin-starred chef and Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters contestant–a hilarious, self-deprecating, gorgeous new cookbook–the ultimate guide to cooking for one.

Anita Lo puts the “Lo” in alone. The life of a Michelin-starred New York City chef is a solitary one–there’s not much time for dating or dinners with friends–so she’s perfected the art of cooking for one. In this delightful cookbook, Lo presents 101 accessible, contemporary, and sophisticated recipes for home cooks, most of which take less than 30 minutes to make. Drawn from her childhood, her years cooking around the world, and her extensive travels, these are globally-inspired, restaurant-quality dishes from Lo’s own repertoire. Think Steamed Seabass with Shiitakes; Smoky Eggplant and Scallion Frittata; Duck Bolognese; Chicken Pho; Slow Cooker Shortrib with Caramelized Endive; Broccoli Stem Slaw; Chicken Tagine with Couscous; and Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie–even a New England clambake for one. (And should you find yourself with company, fear not! These recipes are easily multiplied by two.)

Description from Goodreads.

“Here, at a time when we need it most, is a book that will ‘help you to remember how to take care of yourself’. . . . Anita Lo writes with such bracing candor and slips of self-deprecating humor that it feels like she’s in the room. . . . [She] is uniquely suited to translating professional techniques into home cooking tips. No other book this year achieves this particular concept so well. . . . What makes this book so special is Lo’s recipe notes, which could be a book of their own: glimpses into her thoughts and inspiration, travelogues, and educational diatribes on ingredients she’s either caught or killed or set aflame. There’s a story about the time she found a dead body in the Hudson while on a date . . . and a vignette about the time she ran into a woman in Bologna dressed as mortadella. . . . They all come alive on the page.” – Eater

“Anita Lo is exactly the person we want teaching us to cook at home for ourselves. . . . The recipes are downsized and oh-so-practical . . . though they can easily be doubled (or tripled) should guests suddenly show up once they hear about the meals you’re making for yourself.” – New York

“A book celebrating the simple act of cooking for yourself. . . . A cookbook that speaks directly to a growing proportion of single Americans, with strategic, small-portion recipes, and tips for shopping, stocking the pantry and storing food in a single-person household.” – The New York Times

Available Formats:

Print Book


Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce by  Colm Tóibín

mad bad dangerous to knowFrom Colm Tóibín, the formidable award-winning author of The Master and Brooklyn, an illuminating, intimate study of Irish culture, history, and literature told through the lives and work of three men—William Wilde, John Butler Yeats, and John Stanislaus Joyce—and the complicated, influential relationships they had with their complicated sons.

Colm Tóibín begins his incisive, revelatory Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know with a walk through the Dublin streets where he went to university—a wide-eyed boy from the country—and where three Irish literary giants also came of age. Oscar Wilde, writing about his relationship with his father, William Wilde, stated: “Whenever there is hatred between two people there is bond or brotherhood of some kind…you loathed each other not because you were so different but because you were so alike.” W.B. Yeats wrote of his father, John Butler Yeats, a painter: “It is this infirmity of will which has prevented him from finishing his pictures. The qualities I think necessary to success in art or life seemed to him egotism.” John Stanislaus Joyce, James’s father, was perhaps the most quintessentially Irish, widely loved, garrulous, a singer, and drinker with a volatile temper, who drove his son from Ireland.

Elegant, profound, and riveting, Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know illuminates not only the complex relationships between three of the greatest writers in the English language and their fathers, but also illustrates the surprising ways these men surface in their work. Through these stories of fathers and sons, Tóibín recounts the resistance to English cultural domination, the birth of modern Irish cultural identity, and the extraordinary contributions of these complex and masterful authors.

Description from Goodreads.

“A vivid and knowledgeable depiction of nineteenth-century cultural life in the Irish capital…Tóibín portrays three giants of Irish literature and their city in a new and clarifying light.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know offers richly drawn portraits of fathers and sons, illuminating the influence rippling between gener­ations…As charming as it is illuminating, Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know provides a singular look at an extraordi­nary confluence of genius.” – Bookpage

“This gentle, immersive book holds literary scholarship to be a heartfelt, heavenly pursuit.” – The Washington Post

Available Formats:

Print Book



YOUNG ADULT



The Brilliant Death by  Amy Rose Capetta

brilliant deathFor Teodora DiSangro, a mafia don’s daughter, family is fate.

All her life, Teodora has hidden the fact that she secretly turns her family’s enemies into music boxes, mirrors, and other decorative objects. After all, everyone in Vinalia knows that stregas—wielders of magic—are figures out of fairytales. Nobody believes they’re real.

Then the Capo, the land’s new ruler, sends poisoned letters to the heads of the Five Families that have long controlled Vinalia. Four lie dead and Teo’s beloved father is gravely ill. To save him, Teo must travel to the capital as a DiSangro son—not merely disguised as a boy, but transformed into one.

Enter Cielo, a strega who can switch back and forth between male and female as effortlessly as turning a page in a book. Teo and Cielo journey together to the capital, and Teo struggles to master her powers and to keep her growing feelings for Cielo locked in her heart. As she falls in love with witty, irascible Cielo, Teo realizes how much of life she’s missed by hiding her true nature. But she can’t forget her mission, and the closer they get to the palace, the more sinister secrets they uncover about what’s really going on in their beloved country—and the more determined Teo becomes to save her family at any cost.

Description from Goodreads.

A delicious and magical intrigue too tempting not to devour.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“This first in a duology is a luminously imagined, Italian-inspired fantasy that thoughtfully speaks to ideas of gender perception and identity. A rich world, with much left to be explored in the next volume.” – Booklist

“A unique mashup of fantasy, historical fiction, and queer romance… the kind of book you won’t be able to stop talking about.” – Bustle

Available Formats:

Print Book



CHILDREN’S



Blended by  Sharon M. Draper

blendedEleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves.

Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?

It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

Description from Goodreads.

“Timely and genuine.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Blended is a graceful novel about family and identity that will enlighten and entertain readers. Draper’s insight into the world of an 11-year-old girl is uncanny.” – Shelf Awareness

“Draper has written a book in which kids will see themselves.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book


What Goes Up by  Wen Jane Baragrey

what goes upRobyn Tinkerbell Goodfellow (yes, that’s actually her name) has a target on her roof. Well, not a real one, but everything seems to land there: paper airplanes, lost kites, socks, cats, and once even a skydiver! In the town of Calliope, Robyn and her magnet roof are famous–for being weird. That wasn’t such a big deal . . . until now!

A rogue NASA satellite is falling out of orbit and is going to hit Earth. NASA says it will probably land in the ocean, but Robyn knows better–that satellite is headed for her roof. To make matters worse, Robyn discovers that she doesn’t just have a fairy middle name. When her class reads A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she learns that Robin Goodfellow is a fairy! Which means if the satellite flattens her, everyone will laugh at her name in the news stories. Robyn realizes what she needs to do: find her long-lost dad so he can help her change her name and protect her from the satellite!

Both surprising and relatable, this middle-grade novel will have readers wishing they could move to the small town of Calliope, laugh with the larger-than-life characters, and race against the clock to save Robyn from NASA’s mistake.

Description from Goodreads.

“A quirky, heartwarming story of family and friendship.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A quirky, fun story set in a town filled with unique and amusing characters.” – School Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book


Got to Get to Bear’s! by  Brian Lies

got to get to bear's!Bear never asks for anything. So when she sends a note to Izzy urgently requesting her presence, Izzy can’t refuse! But a blizzard begins and slows Izzy’s progress.  As the snow accumulates, so do her friends, helping her on her way to Bear’s place.

This heartwarming tale from best-selling author and illustrator Brian Lies shows readers the rewards of counting on friends to get you through, snowstorm or not.

Description from Goodreads.

“The surprise resolution…is highly satisfying, as is the book’s depiction of a blizzard that is no match for resourcefulness and camaraderie. This bracing story weaves warmth and excitement into a memorable celebration of friendship.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Lies creates a charming, heartwarming story of friendship, goodwill, and perseverance…A beautifully illustrated and gratifying story of woodland-creature comradeship and determination.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A humorous, heartwarming work.”–School Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book

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