Best New Books: Week of 5/14/2019

Make sure you clear some time out of your schedule this week, because several of the year’s buzziest titles are arriving at the library today. With intrigue, danger, laughter, and love you’re sure to find this week’s new books make for great reading!



FICTION



Disappearing Earth by  Julia Phillips

disappearing earthOne August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern tip of Russia, two girls – sisters, ages eight and eleven – go missing. The police investigation that follows turns up nothing. In the girls’ tightly-woven community, everyone must grapple with the loss. But the fear and danger of their disappearance is felt most profoundly among the women of this isolated place.

Taking us one chapter per month across a year on Kamchatka, this powerful novel connects the lives of characters changed by the sisters’ abduction: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. Theirs is an ethnically diverse population in which racial tensions simmer, and so-called “natives” are often suspected of the worst. As the story radiates from the peninsula’s capital city to its rural north, we are brought to places of astonishing beauty: densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and glassy seas.

Disappearing Earth is a multifaceted story of the intimate lives of women – their vulnerabilities and perils, their desires and dreams. It speaks to the complex yet enduring bonds of community as it offers startlingly vivid portraits of people reaching out to one another and, sometimes, reaching back to save each other.

​Spellbinding, moving – evoking a fascinating region on the other side of the world – this suspenseful and haunting story announces the debut of a profoundly gifted writer.

Description from Goodreads.

“Engrossing: an auspicious debut novel, a literary whodunit set in a distinctly foreign land, Russia’s isolated Kamchatka Peninsula. Rarely has a novel so fully brought to life a place most couldn’t pretend to know.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Mesmerizing… The story reads as a page-turner without relying on any cheap narrative tricks to propel it forward, and the strength of Phillips’s writing—her careful attention to character and tone—will grip you right up until the final heart-stopping pages.” – Vanity Fair

“An exceptional and suspenseful debut. In the opening chapter, two sisters vanish from a beach on the Kamchatka Peninsula; their disappearance sends ripples throughout the close-knit community. Subsequent chapters chart the effect of longing and loss in a series of interconnected, equally riveting stories. The climax [is] truly nail-biting… Phillips’s exquisite descriptions of the landscape are masterful throughout, as is her skill at crafting a complex, genuinely addictive whodunit. This novel signals the arrival of a mighty talent.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED & BOXED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


The Night Before by  Wendy Walker

night beforeLaura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date. 

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…

Description from Goodreads.

“This. Book. Is. Wild. You’ll blow through this lightning-fast read in one exhilarating afternoon.” – HelloGiggles

“Walker’s clever misdirection paves the way to a truly chilling finale, and she has plenty of insightful things to say about the blame placed on women by society and themselves for the idiotic, careless, and sometimes downright evil things men do. Twisty and propulsive.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Secrets, lies, and time jumps will keep readers on their toes.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



SUSPENSE



If She Wakes by  Michael Koryta

if she wakesTara Beckley is a senior at idyllic Hammel College in Maine. As she drives to deliver a visiting professor to a conference, a horrific car accident kills the professor and leaves Tara in a vegetative state. At least, so her doctors think. In fact, she’s a prisoner of locked-in syndrome: fully alert but unable to move a muscle. Trapped in her body, she learns that someone powerful wants her dead–but why? And what can she do, lying in a hospital bed, to stop them?

Abby Kaplan, an insurance investigator, is hired by the college to look in to Tara’s case. A former stunt driver, Abby returned home after a disaster in Hollywood left an actor dead and her own reputation–and nerves–shattered. Despite the fog of trauma, she can tell that Tara’s car crash was no accident. When she starts asking questions, things quickly spin out of control, leaving Abby on the run and a mysterious young hit man named Dax Blackwell hard on her heels.

Full of pulse-pounding tension, If She Wakes is a searing, breakneck thriller from the genre’s “best of the best” (Michael Connelly).

Description from Goodreads.

“It’s a measure of how good this book is that the chilling, masterfully sustained suspense is only one of its standout achievements. Koryta never brushes off anyone’s death; he makes you feel for the victims. The relationship between Tara and her sibling is beautifully nuanced, full of revealing details going back to their childhood. Koryta has never been better than with this knuckle-biting thriller.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Koryta tries his hand at psychological suspense with excellent results.” – Crime Reads

“Instantly gripping, with realistic action, a breath-snatching twist, and a few untied ends that hopefully signal a sequel.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



MYSTERY



The Never Game by  Jeffery Deaver

never game“You have been abandoned.”

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a “reward seeker,” traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America’s tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry. 

“Escape if you can.”

When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past–The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life?

“Or die with dignity.”

Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark ‘net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn’t the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

The Never Game proves once more why “Deaver is a genius when it comes to manipulation and deception” (Associated Press).

Description from Goodreads.

“The story is—this will come as no surprise to Deaver’s many fans—full of twists and right-angle turns, and a second Colter Shaw novel feels not just inevitable but mandatory. Deaver is a hit maker who always delivers the goods.” – Booklist

“[The Never Game] has film adaptation written all over it.” – Bookpage

“Award-winning author Deaver  introduces an engaging new protagonist with staying power. Colter’s backstory is fascinating and his persona as much a part of the tale as the crime itself. This is a sure bet for fans of suspense and will find a home with those who like their protagonists to be a central part of the mystery.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book | PlayawayeBook | eAudiobook



HISTORICAL FICTION



Resistance Women by  Jennifer Chiaverini

resistance womenAfter Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.

As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.

For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.

Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

Description from Goodreads.

“This fictionalized version of real-life heroes is told with prose that ranges from forthright to eloquent, and the focus on the road to war and evolving attitudes regarding fascism and Nazism is exceptionally insightful, making for a sweeping and memorable WWII novel.” – Publishers Weekly

“A riveting, complex tale of the courage of ordinary people.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Chiaverini never loses her focus on her four extraordinarily courageous, resourceful, yet relatable narrators. Chiaverini’s many fans and every historical fiction reader who enjoys strong female characters, will find much to love in this revealing WWII novel.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


America Was Hard to Find by  Kathleen Alcott

america was hard to findEcuador, 1969: An American expatriate, Fay Fern, sits in the corner of a restaurant, she and her young son Wright turned away from the television where Vincent Kahn becomes the first man to walk on the moon.

Years earlier, Fay and Vincent meet at a pilots’ bar in the Mojave Desert. Both seemed poised for reinvention—the married test pilot, Vincent, as an astronaut; the spurned child of privilege, Fay, as an activist. Their casual affair ends quickly, but its consequences linger.

Though their lives split, their senses of purpose deepen in tandem, each becoming heroes to different sides of the political spectrum of the 1960s and 70s: Vincent an icon with no plan beyond the mission for which he has single-mindedly trained, Fay a leader of a violent leftist group whose anti-Vietnam actions make her one of the FBI’s most wanted. With her last public appearance, a demonstration that frames the Apollo program as a vehicle for distracting the American public from its country’s atrocities, Fay leaves Wright to contend with her legacy, his own growing apathy, and the misdeeds of both his mother and his country.

An immense, vivid reimagining of the Cold War era, America Was Hard to Find traces the fallout of the cultural revolution that divided the country and explores the meaning of individual lives in times of upheaval. It also confirms Kathleen Alcott’s reputation as a fearless and vital voice in fiction.

Description from Goodreads.

“A marvel of compression and controlled description. Fay’s ambition, at the start of America Was Hard to Find, is to make life ‘happen more deeply inside her.’ Alcott’s novel is a finely calibrated machine that does the same for us.” – BookForum

“Kathleen Alcott writes with pulsating, intense prose, delivering an account of how lives can be meshed and torn apart… Powerful… America Was Hard to Find leaves readers wanting more of this story and everything else Alcott has written.” – BookPage

“[Alcott’s] empathy for troubled souls, rendered in haunting, impressionistic prose, makes a powerful emotional impact, giving the novel a staying power… Impressively ambitious and extremely well-written.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



ROMANCE



The Unhoneymooners by  Christina Lauren

unhoneymoonersOlive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

Description from Goodreads.

“Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Lauren brilliantly wields familiar rom-com tropes—enemies to lovers, fake marriage, even height differences—to craft a delightful romance that will have readers hanging on every word.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Sassy and appealing, writing duo Lauren’s latest endeavor is sure to please. A perfect read for beach or poolside, this is one hot summer story not to miss!” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



NONFICTION



Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir by  Jayson Greene

once more we saw starsTwo-year-old Greta Greene was sitting with her grandmother on a park bench on the Upper West Side of Manhattan when a brick crumbled from a windowsill overhead, striking her unconscious. She is immediately rushed to the hospital. Once More We Saw Stars begins with this event, leading the reader into the unimaginable.

But although it begins with the anguish Jayson and his wife Stacy confront in the wake of their daughter’s trauma and the hours leading up to her death, it quickly becomes a narrative that is as much about hope and healing as it is about grief and loss. Jayson recognizes, even in the very midst of his ordeal, that there will be a life for him beyond it—that if only he can continue moving forward, from one moment to the next, he will survive what seems un-survivable.

With raw honesty, deep emotion, and exquisite tenderness, he captures both the fragility of life and absoluteness of death, and most important of all, the unconquerable power of love. This is an unforgettable memoir of courage and transformation—and a book that will change the way you look at the world.

Description from Goodreads.

“Beautiful… heartbreaking… an answer to the question: How does one survive such a devastating tragedy…a story not just of loss, but of remarkable love… life-affirming… luminous.” – Washington Post

Once More We Saw Stars isn’t about the tragedy that befell a family—although Greene recounts with exquisite detail how he felt in the tragic days that ended his daughter’s life. The memoir is instead a story of a couple who faced one of the worst things imaginable and still continued to choose life.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

“[Greene] unspools his pain on paper… We’re drawn to stories of survival because they prove that pain and loss don’t define us, but instead add a new tenor to our lives: appreciation, sadness, or faith… Suffering pulls apart life’s tapestry, yes, but then refashions it into something fundamentally new… He discovers an opening to this new universe, in which suffering is tantamount to being human.” – Elle

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 by  Rick Atkinson

british are comingRick Atkinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning An Army at Dawn and two other superb books about World War II, has long been admired for his deeply researched, stunningly vivid narrative histories. Now he turns his attention to a new war, and in the initial volume of the Revolution Trilogy he recounts the first twenty-one months of America’s violent war for independence. From the battles at Lexington and Concord in spring 1775 to those at Trenton and Princeton in winter 1777, American militiamen and then the ragged Continental Army take on the world’s most formidable fighting force. It is a gripping saga alive with astonishing characters: Henry Knox, the former bookseller with an uncanny understanding of artillery; Nathanael Greene, the blue-eyed bumpkin who becomes a brilliant battle captain; Benjamin Franklin, the self-made man who proves to be the wiliest of diplomats; George Washington, the commander in chief who learns the difficult art of leadership when the war seems all but lost. The story is also told from the British perspective, making the mortal conflict between the redcoats and the rebels all the more compelling.

Full of riveting details and untold stories, The British Are Coming is a tale of heroes and knaves, of sacrifice and blunder, of redemption and profound suffering. Rick Atkinson has given stirring new life to the first act of our country’s creation drama.

Description from Goodreads.

“Pulitzer Prize-winner Atkinson (The Liberation Trilogy) replicates his previous books’ success in this captivatingly granular look at the American Revolution from the increasing tension in the colonies in 1773 to the battles of Trenton and Princeton in 1777. Extensive research… allows Atkinson to recreate the past like few other popular historians… A superlative treatment of the period.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“This balanced, elegantly written, and massively researched volume is the first in a projected trilogy about the Revolutionary War… Combining apt quotation (largely from correspondence) with flowing and precise original language, Atkinson describes military encounters that, though often unbearably grim, are evoked in vivid and image-laden terms… Aided by fine and numerous maps, this is superb military and diplomatic history and represents storytelling on a grand scale.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“This book is, in a word, fantastic. It offers all the qualities that we have come to expect from the author: deep and wide research, vivid detail, a blend of voices from common soldiers to commanders, blazing characterizations of the leading personalities within the conflict and a narrative that flows like a good novel… The British Are Coming is a superb ode to the grit and everyday heroism that eventually won the war.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | PlayawayeBook | eAudiobook

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