Best New Books: Week of 11/6/2018

November is here, which means the end of 2018 is growing ever closer. How have you all done with your to-read lists this year? Did you manage to get through some of those books you’ve been wanting to finish? Well, we aren’t going to make things any easier for you, as we have a slew of great new titles arriving at the library! With stories from star authors like Liane Moriarty, debut novels, mysteries, YA science fiction, historical epics, true crime, religion, and even a graphic novel, there is bound to be something for every taste in this week’s best new books!



FICTION



Nine Perfect Strangers by  Liane Moriarty

nine perfect strangersNine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

Description from Goodreads.

“A cannily plotted, continually surprising, and frequently funny page-turner and a deeply satisfying thriller. Moriarty delivers yet another surefire winner.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED & BOXED REVIEW

“No one writes about the minutiae of women’s lives with quite as much insight and pull as Moriarty, who wrote Big Little Lies, and yet again her slow-burning plotting leaves you gasping at the very end. I’m jealous of anyone who hasn’t read this yet.” – Grazia

“Each reveal is a delicious surprise…Nine Perfect Strangers is so well written and slyly constructed that it won’t feel like enough.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | AudiobookeBook | eAudiobook


Heads You Win by  Jeffrey Archer

heads you winLeningrad, Russia, 1968. Alexander Karpenko is no ordinary child, and from an early age, it is clear he is destined to lead his countrymen. But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, he and his mother will have to escape from Russia if they hope to survive. At the docks, they are confronted with an irreversible choice: should they board a container ship bound for America, or Great Britain? Alexander leaves that choice to the toss of a coin . . .

In a single moment, a double twist decides Alexander’s future. During an epic tale of fate and fortune, spanning two continents and thirty years, we follow his triumphs and defeats as he struggles as an immigrant to conquer his new world. As this unique story unfolds, Alexander comes to realize where his destiny lies, and accepts that he must face the past he left behind in Russia.

With a final twist that will shock even his most ardent fans, this is #1 New York Times bestseller Jeffrey Archer’s most ambitious and creative work since Kane and Abel.

Description from Goodreads.

“Archer, no stranger to sprawling epics, covers three decades in the life of Alex/Sasha, working his way to a stunning conclusion that packs a wallop. Typical for an Archer novel, the writing and characterizations are superb, and the book features several plot twists that send the story lines off in surprising new directions. There are a couple of moments, late in the novel, that should make readers’ jaws drop – moments so unexpected and surreal that they require a second reading, just to make sure we really just read what we think we did. A splendid novel, featuring one of Archer’s most elegantly told stories.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“…a surprise last-sentence kicker … points to the present political moment. The result is a fun, fast-paced novel.” – Publishers Weekly

“Archer packs a plot with thrills and chills enough for readers to keep turning the pages.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | AudiobookeBook | eAudiobook


The Noel Stranger by  Richard Paul Evans

noel strangerMaggie Walther feels like her world is imploding. Publicly humiliated after her husband, a local councilman, is arrested for bigamy, and her subsequent divorce, she has isolated herself from the world. When her only friend insists that Maggie climb out of her hole, and embrace the season to get her out of her funk, Maggie decides to put up a Christmas tree and heads off to buy one — albeit reluctantly. She is immediately taken by Andrew, the kind, handsome man who owns the Christmas tree lot and delivers her tree. She soon learns that Andrew is single and new to her city and, like her, is also starting his life anew.

As their friendship develops, Maggie slowly begins to trust again — something she never thought possible. Then, just when she thinks she has finally found happiness, she discovers a dark secret from Andrew’s past. Is there more to this stranger’s truth than meets the eye?

This powerful new holiday novel from Richard Paul Evans explores the true power of the season, redemption, and the freedom that comes from forgiveness.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] sweet second tale in the Noel series…Evans’s fans will appreciate this tale of finding the good in everyone and loving people for who they are.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Witty and interesting.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Enjoyable reading…fans of Debbie Macomber will enjoy Evans’ latest.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



MYSTERY



The Feral Detective by  Jonatham Lethem

feral detectivePhoebe Siegler first meets Charles Heist in a shabby trailer in the desert outside of Los Angeles. She’s on a quest to find her friend’s missing daughter, Arabella, and hears that Heist is preternaturally good at finding people who don’t want to be found. A loner who keeps his pet opossum in a desk drawer, Heist has a laconic, enigmatic nature that intrigues the sarcastic and garrulous Phoebe. It takes some convincing, but he agrees to help.

The unlikely pair traverse California’s stunning Inland Empire, navigating the enclaves of hippies and vagabonds who aim to live off the grid. They learn that these outcasts exist in warring tribes–the Rabbits and the Bears–and that Arabella is likely caught in the middle. As Phoebe tries to delicately extricate her, she realizes that Heist has a complicated history with these strange groups and that they’re all in grave danger.

Jonathan Lethem’s first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn delivers the same memorable delights: ecstatic wordplay, warm and deeply felt characters, and an offbeat sense of humor. Combined with a vision of California that is at once scruffy and magnificent, The Feral Detective emerges as a transporting, comic, and absolutely unforgettable novel.

Description from Goodreads.

“A funny but rage-fueled stunner. . . . Both [characters] are compelling, as are the desert setting and the vividly realized descriptions of its dwellers. . . . An unrelentingly paced tale. . . . Utterly unique and absolutely worthwhile.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Surrealistic, genre-bending. . . . The personal nature of Phoebe’s tectonic shift in the desert is palpable, made flesh by Lethem’s linguistic alchemy. . . . A haunting tour of the gulf between the privileged and the dispossessed.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“A highbrow mystery. . . . Fans of Motherless Brooklyn take note.” – Washington Post

Available Formats:

Print Book


A Shot in the Dark by  Lynne Truss

shot in the darkIt’s 1957, and the famed theater critic A. S. Crystal has come to the British seaside resort of Brighton with something other than the local production of “A Shilling in the Meter” on his mind. Sitting in the Brighton Royal Theater with Constable Twitten, Crystal intends to tell the detective the secret he knows about the still-unsolved Aldersgate Stick-Up case of 1945. And yet, just before Crystal names the criminal mastermind involved, he’s shot dead in his seat.

With a new murder case on his hands and a fatuous, lazy captain at the helm of the police department, the keen and clever Constable Twitten and his colleague Sargent Jim Brunswick set out to solve the decade-old mystery of the Aldersgate Stick-Up. As the partners venture deep into the criminal underworld that lies beneath Brighton’s holiday-happy veneer, they begin to discover a criminal conspiracy that dates back decades. But will Brunswick and Twitten be able to foil the mastermind, or will Crystal’s death become just another unsolved crime in this seemingly peaceful seaside city?

With her characteristic wit, New York Times bestselling author Lynne Truss introduces readers to a cast of eccentric policeman and scheming criminals in a drolly delightful mystery you won’t want to miss.

Description from Goodreads.

“Truss’s new crime novel is an unqualified masterpiece.” – Glasgow Herald

“We all know Truss can work miracles–after all, she managed to make a manual on punctuation (Eats, Shoots and Leaves) a bestseller–but I doubt even Constable Twitten could work out how she has produced a whodunit that exudes heartwarming cosiness whilst boasting Game of Thrones levels of violent death, or given her cast of amusing caricatures more life than most of the characters I’ve encountered in fiction this year.” – Daily Telegraph

“British author Truss makes her crime fiction debut with this hilarious series launch . . . She successfully combines wry humor with a fair-play mystery.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Colors of All the Cattle by  Alexander McCall Smith

colors of all the cattleWhen Mma Potokwane suggests to Mma Ramotswe that she run for a seat on the City Council, Mma Ramotswe is at first unsure. But when she learns about the proposed construction of the flashy Big Fun Hotel next to a graveyard, she allows herself to be persuaded. Her opponent is none other than Violet Sephotho, who is in the pocket of the hotel developers. Although Violet is intent on using every trick in the book to secure her election, Mma Ramotswe refuses to promise anything beyond what she can deliver–hence her slogan: “I can’t promise anything–but I shall do my best.” To everyone’s surprise, she wins.

As it turns out, politics does not agree with Mma Ramotswe. Though everyone is supportive, she eventually resigns. She thinks there will be a new election, but she discovers that the rules state that in such an event, the runner-up automatically takes the seat. Violet is triumphant, and sure that she will get the Big Fun Hotel planning application through without a hitch. But Mma Makutsi and Mma Potokwane are not about to make it easy for her.

Through it all, Mma Ramotswe uses her good humor and generosity of spirit to help the community navigate divisive issues, and proves that honesty and compassion will always carry the day.

Description from Goodreads.

“…excellent… Smith continues to bring joy to his readers through his insights into the human heart.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“…it bears all the quiet weight [you’d] expect before reaching a particularly appropriate ending.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Forever and a Day by  Anthony Horowitz

forever and a dayThe sea keeps its secrets. But not this time.

One body. Three bullets. 007 floats in the waters of Marseille, killed by an unknown hand.

It’s time for a new agent to step up. Time for a new weapon in the war against organised crime.

It’s time for James Bond to earn his licence to kill.

This is the story of the birth of a legend, in the brutal underworld of the French Riviera.

Description from Goodreads.

“This explosive adventure is Horowitz’s second Bond book, after Trigger Mortis (2015), and marks him as fully worthy to carry on the Bond tradition. Fleming would be pleased. Whether he is writing for adults or children, whether he is imagining his own characters or extending the lives of those created by others (Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle as well as Fleming), Horowitz always draws a crowd of eager readers.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“A fine storyteller, Horowitz employs all the tropes fans know and love (including an elegant explanation for the famous martini mandate, “shaken, not stirred”), but he also delivers a conclusion whose moral complexity will surprise anyone expecting an ending more in line with Fleming’s own.” – Publishers Weekly

“[A]n enjoyably compact thriller, with an absolutely killer last line.” – The Guardian

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



SUSPENSE



Sea of Greed by  Clive Cussler & Graham Brown

sea of greedJanuary 1968

Two submarines–one French, one Israeli–vanish in the Mediterranean within days of each other. Extensive search-and-rescue operations turn up no sign of either vessel. Thirty years later, the wreck of one is found; the other is never recovered.

Present Day

After an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico destroys three oil rigs trying to revive a dying field, Kurt, Joe and NUMA are tapped by the President of the United States to find out why many of the world’s most productive oilfields have gone dry. The trail leads them to Tessa Franco, a brilliant billionaire in the alternative energy field. Tessa’s goal is the end of the oil age; her company has spent billions developing the most powerful and efficient fuel-cell systems the world has ever seen. In the eyes of many she’s an environmental hero, but her connection to a rogue genetic engineer and central Asian money suggest something more.

The NUMA crew discovers that the oil fields are infected with a bacteria that is consuming the oil before it can be pumped out of the earth–and initial studies reveal no way to stop it. With the price of oil tripling, the world’s stock markets crashing and the health of the global economy hanging in the balance, Kurt is up against it. But finding a submarine that’s remained hidden for fifty years won’t be easy. And with uncountable money and an army of hired killers at her disposal, Tessa Franco will do everything in her power to stop him.

Description from Goodreads.

“Fast-paced, imaginative fun. May Kurt and crew survive, as there’s a good series to continue.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Female villains of the evil-genius type are few and far between in the high-concept-adventure subgenre, and it’s refreshing to find one here. . . Cussler’s devoted readership will find this among the better entries in the series.” – Booklist

“Solid. . . Cussler fans know who will win in the end, but it’s always fun to watch the NUMA guys and gals implementing their clever plans.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



HISTORICAL FICTION



The Kinship of Secrets by  Eugenia Kim

kinship of secretsIn 1948 Najin and Calvin Cho, with their young daughter Miran, travel from South Korea to the United States in search of new opportunities. Wary of the challenges they know will face them, Najin and Calvin make the difficult decision to leave their other daughter, Inja, behind with their extended family; soon, they hope, they will return to her.

But then war breaks out in Korea, and there is no end in sight to the separation. Miran grows up in prosperous American suburbia, under the shadow of the daughter left behind, as Inja grapples in her war-torn land with ties to a family she doesn’t remember. Najin and Calvin desperately seek a reunion with Inja, but are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time, and war? And as deep family secrets are revealed, will everything they long for be upended?

Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister.

Description from Goodreads.

“Kim is a true storyteller, and her latest work is engaging throughout. Readers who enjoy family sagas by Lisa See and Jamie Ford will appreciate this one.” – Library Journal

“Eugenia Kim succeeds in crafting intimacy in her story and characters…The Kinship of Secrets evokes the feeling of humanity and what it means to be family.” – Jakarta Post

“That this stunning novel is based on a true story makes its plot all the more heartrending.” – Nylon

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Splendor Before the Dark by  Margaret George

splendor before the darkWith the beautiful and cunning Poppaea at his side, Nero Augustus commands the Roman empire, ushering in an unprecedented era of artistic and cultural splendor. Although he has yet to produce an heir, his power is unquestioned.

But in the tenth year of his reign, a terrifying prophecy comes to pass and a fire engulfs Rome, reducing entire swaths of the city to rubble. Rumors of Nero’s complicity in the blaze start to sow unrest among the populace–and the politicians…

For better or worse, Nero knows that his fate is now tied to Rome’s–and he vows to rebuild it as a city that will stun the world. But there are those who find his rampant quest for glory dangerous. Throughout the empire, false friends and spies conspire against him, not understanding what drives him to undertake the impossible.

Nero will either survive and be the first in his family to escape the web of betrayals that is the Roman court, or be ensnared and remembered as the last radiance of the greatest dynasty the world had ever known.

Description from Goodreads.

“George’s novel is meticulously researched, and, as she explains in her afterword, much of what we think we know about Nero was written by his enemies. She goes a long way toward setting the record straight. Her writing brings imperial Rome brilliantly to life. This novel, along with its predecessor, is highly recommended.” – Historical Novel Society

“George’s nuanced, well-researched character study depicts [Nero’s] candid inner self and how the performance of his short life played out on the Roman Empire’s vast stage. It succeeds admirably in persuading readers to reconsider their impressions of the infamous Nero.” – Reading the Past

Available Formats:

Print Book



NONFICTION



A Tale of Two Murders: Guilt, Innocence, and the Execution of Edith Thompson by  Laura Thompson

tale of two murdersThe death penalty is never without its ethical conflicts or moral questions. Never more so than when the person being led to the gallows may very well be innocent of the actual crime, if not innocent according to social concepts of femininity.

A Tale of Two Murders is an engrossing examination of the Ilford murder, which became a legal cause célèbre in the 1920s, and led to the hanging of Edith Thompson and her lover, Freddy Bywaters. On the night of October 3, 1922, as Edith and her husband, Percy, were walking home from the theatre, a man sprang out of the darkness and stabbed Percy to death. The assailant was none other than Bywaters.

When the police discovered his relationship with Edith, she—who had denied knowledge of the attack—was arrested as his accomplice. Her passionate love letters to Bywaters, read out at the ensuing trial, sealed her fate, even though Bywaters insisted Edith had no part in planning the murder. They were both hanged. Freddy was demonstrably guilty, but was Edith truly so?

In shattering detail and with masterful emotional insight, Laura Thompson charts the course of a liaison with thrice-fatal consequences and investigates what a troubling case tells us about perceptions of women, innocence, and guilt.

Description from Goodreads.

“An exhaustive look into the passionate love affair that led to one of the most infamous murders in 1920s England. Moving beyond the standard courtroom drama. This meticulously researched account of a fatal love affair carefully questions the nature of guilt and capital punishment in polite society, offering up a more profound lesson than is likely to be found in a typical true crime novel.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Thompson provides the definitive look at a British cause célèbre in this riveting and multifaceted study of the notorious Thompson-Bywaters murder, the first such study to make use of all the Home Office files on the case.” – Publishers Weekly

“A terrific book: compassionate, nuanced, and thought-provoking.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book


Churchill: Walking With Destiny by  Andrew Roberts

churchillWhen we seek an example of unalloyed courage, the man who comes to mind is Winston Churchill: the visionary leader, immune from the consensus of the day, who stood firmly for his beliefs when everyone doubted him. But how did young Winston become Churchill? What gave him the strength to take on the superior force of Nazi Germany when bombs rained on London and so many others had caved? In The Storm of War, Andrew Roberts gave us a tantalizing glimpse of Churchill the war leader. Now, at last, we have the full and definitive biography, as personally revealing as it is compulsively readable, about one of the great leaders of all time.

Roberts was granted exclusive access to extensive new material: the transcripts of war cabinet meetings– the equivalent of the Nixon and JFK tapes–diaries, letters, unpublished memoirs, and detailed notes taken by the king after their bi-weekly meetings. Having read every one of Churchill’s letters–including deeply personal ones that Churchill’s son Randolph had previously chosen to withhold–and spoken to more than one hundred people who knew or worked with him, Roberts identifies the hidden forces fueling Churchill’s drive. Churchill put his faith in the British Empire and fought as hard to preserve it as he did to defend London. Having started his career in India and South Africa, he understood better than most idealists how hard it can be to pacify reluctant people far from home. We think of Churchill as a hero of the age of mechanized warfare, but Roberts’s masterwork reveals that he has as much to teach us about the challenges we face today–and the fundamental values of courage, tenacity, leadership, and moral conviction.

Description from Goodreads.

“Brilliant, breathtaking, unputdownable . . . the definitive picture of our greatest political leader. All Roberts’s past life has been but a preparation for this hour and this work, and this brilliant book is a fitting crown to his own career.” – London Evening Standard

“Terrific . . . By drawing on many previously untapped sources, Mr. Roberts has produced a more complete picture of his subject than any previous biography.” – The Economist

“Even if you’ve read every other book about the former prime minister and seen all the movies, expect revelations. For example: The royal family permitted the author to read King George VI’s diary notes about his wartime meetings with Churchill. That’s a first.” – Washington Post

Available Formats:

Print Book


Why Religion?: A Personal Story by  Elaine Pagels

why religionWhy is religion still around in the twenty-first century? Why do so many still believe? And how do various traditions still shape the way people experience everything from sexuality to politics, whether they are religious or not? In Why Religion? Elaine Pagels looks to her own life to help address these questions.

These questions took on a new urgency for Pagels when dealing with unimaginable loss—the death of her young son, followed a year later by the shocking loss of her husband. Here she interweaves a personal story with the work that she loves, illuminating how, for better and worse, religious traditions have shaped how we understand ourselves; how we relate to one another; and, most importantly, how to get through the most difficult challenges we face.

Drawing upon the perspectives of neurologists, anthropologists, and historians, as well as her own research, Pagels opens unexpected ways of understanding persistent religious aspects of our culture.

A provocative and deeply moving account from one of the most compelling religious thinkers at work today, Why Religion? explores the spiritual dimension of human experience.

Description from Goodreads.

“Looks back on a rich life of learning, writing, loving, seeking truth and, inevitably, suffering. . . achingly beautiful . . . Readers of all faiths and none can learn from her brilliance and courage.” – Dallas Morning News

“Beautiful . . . Pagels treats readers to the examined life behind her intellectual feats with extreme grace and depth. This luminous memoir strips religion to its elementary particles: love, suffering, and mystery.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Engaging both head and heart . . . this brilliant book . . . stimulates intellectual curiosity and thought while giving equal weight to Pagel’s emotional life.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book



YOUNG ADULT



Skyward by  Brandon Sanderson

skywardSpensa’s world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity’s only defense is to take to their ships and combat the Krell. Pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race.

Becoming a pilot has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring above the earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with that of her father–a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending Flight School at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They’ve doubled their fleet, which will make Spensa’s world twice as deadly . . . but just might take her skyward.

Description from Goodreads.

“With this action-packed trilogy opener, Sanderson offers up a resourceful, fearless heroine and a memorable cast…[and] as the pulse-pounding story intensifies and reveals its secrets, a cliffhanger ending sets things up for the next installment.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Sanderson delivers a cinematic adventure that explores the defining aspects of the individual versus the society….Serious moments are balanced with animated scenes, leaving a playful feel over the tense undertone of the novel…[and] fans of Sanderson will not be disappointed.” – School Library Journal

“Reading this book is like standing inside a video game: all action and movement. Sanderson’s aerial dogfights are so masterful that it is impossible to turn the pages fast enough.” – Booklist 

Available Formats:

Print Book



GRAPHIC NOVELS



The Man of Steel by  Brian Michael Bendis

man of steelGenre-defining author Brian Michael Bendis makes his triumphant debut at DC Comics, as an alien being comes to Earth to kill Superman and finish the mission he first started decades ago: destroying the planet Krypton and killing every last Kryptonian! One of the genre’s greatest mythologies is turned on its head in Man of Steel!

A new era begins for Superman as a threat named Rogol Zaar comes to Earth to put an end to Superman and his cousin, Supergirl. How will the Last Son and Daughter of Krypton survive a threat that destroyed almost all of their kind? As his world comes down around him, Clark Kent must also wonder: what happened to his wife and son, Lois Lane and Superboy?

Brian Michael Bendis, the scribe behind some of the greatest comics of all time, including Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers and Daredevil, dives headlong into the DC Universe in this precursor to his debuts on both Superman and Action Comics. Featuring stunning art by some of comics greatest artists including Ivan Reis, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes, and Jason Fabok.

Collects issues #1-6 and stories from DC Nation #0.

Description from Goodreads.

Man of Steel isn’t just a new Superman series — it’s a new Superman era.” – Polygon
 
“The future looks bright for DC’S Superman.” – IGN
 
“The last son of Krypton is in excellent hands.” – SYFY Wire

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