Best New Books: Week of 8/13/2019

Labor Day is only about 3 weeks away. It’s hard to believe another Summer is already nearly over. That’s still enough time to get some more beach reading done however, and there are a lot of great books coming out this week to help pass the time on the sand!



FICTION



Things You Save in a Fire by  Katherine Center ★

Things you save in a fireCassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping… but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

Description from Goodreads.

“Center gives readers a sharp and witty exploration of love and forgiveness that is at once insightful, entertaining, and thoroughly addictive.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“A compelling love story, a tearjerking twist, and a thoroughly absorbing story. Another winner from Center.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Funny, smart, and smartly paced, Things You Save in a Fire ignites around the topics of equality, love, redemption, and forgiveness even as it delivers an unforgettable protagonist…” – Amazon Book Review

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook



SUSPENSE



Devotion by  Madeline Stevens

devotionElla is flat broke: wasting away on bodega coffee, barely making rent, seducing the occasional strange man who might buy her dinner. Unexpectedly, an Upper East Side couple named Lonnie and James rescue her from her empty bank account, offering her a job as a nanny and ushering her into their moneyed world. Ella’s days are now spent tending to the baby in their elegant brownstone or on extravagant excursions with the family. Both women are just 26 – but unlike Ella, Lonnie has a doting husband and son, unmistakable artistic talent, and old family money.

Ella is mesmerized by Lonnie’s girlish affection and disregard for the normal boundaries of friendship and marriage. Convinced there must be a secret behind Lonnie’s seemingly effortless life, Ella begins sifting through her belongings, meticulously cataloguing lipstick tubes and baby teeth and scraps of writing. All the while, Ella’s resentment grows, but so does an inexplicable and dizzying attraction. Soon Ella will be immersed so deeply in her cravings – for Lonnie’s lifestyle, her attention, her lovers – that she may never come up for air.

Riveting, propulsive, and startling, Devotion is a masterful debut novel where mismatched power collides with blinding desire, incinerating our perceptions of femininity, lust, and privilege.

Description from Goodreads.

“A darkly glittering jewel from a promising new voice in thrillers.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…this well-written debut has the pulse of a slow-burning thriller.” – The Daily Mail

“…a stimulating character study.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book



MYSTERY



The Swallows by  Lisa Lutz ★

swallowsWhat do you love? What do you hate? What do you want? 

It starts with this simple writing prompt from Alex Witt, Stonebridge Academy’s new creative writing teacher. When the students’ answers raise disturbing questions of their own, Ms. Witt knows there’s more going on at the school than the faculty wants to see. She soon learns about The Ten–the students at the top of the school’s social hierarchy–as well as their connection to something called The Darkroom.

Ms. Witt can’t remain a passive observer. She finds the few girls who’ve started to question the school’s “boys will be boys” attitude and incites a resistance that quickly becomes a movement. But just as it gains momentum, she also attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her–including what brought her to Stonebridge in the first place.

Meanwhile, Gemma, a defiant senior, has been plotting her attack for years, waiting for the right moment. Shy loner Norman hates his role in the Darkroom, but can’t find the courage to fight back until he makes an unlikely alliance. And then there’s Finn Ford, an English teacher with a shady reputation who keeps one eye on his literary ambitions and one on Ms. Witt.

As the school’s secrets begin to trickle out, a boys-versus-girls skirmish turns into an all-out war, with deeply personal–and potentially fatal–consequences for everyone involved. Lisa Lutz’s blistering, timely tale shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long–and why the scariest threat of all might be the idea that sooner or later, girls will be girls.

Description from Goodreads.

“Lutz draws on the droll humor and idiosyncratic characterizations that make her Spellman novels so appealing… An offbeat, darkly witty pre-#MeToo revenge tale. The patriarchy doesn’t stand a chance.” – Kirkus Reviews

The Swallows is fast-moving, darkly humorous and at times shockingly vicious. The battle of the sexes within its pages couldn’t be more compelling… Lutz delivers a frantic, morbidly funny story.” – BookPage

“…takes no prisoners… Although she features such a large cast of characters, she builds her plot cannily and walks a neat line between satire and realism. Lutz’s withering portrayal of how the #MeToo movement plays out in this rarefied setting should shock some and delight others.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Bitterroots by  C.J. Box

bitterrootsFormer police officer Cassie Dewell is trying to start over with her own private investigation firm. Guilty about not seeing her son and exhausted by the nights on stakeout, Cassie is nonetheless managing… until an old friend calls in a favor: she wants Cassie to help exonerate a man accused of assaulting a young girl from an influential family. 

Against her own better judgment, Cassie agrees. But out in the Big Sky Country of Montana, twisted family loyalty runs as deep as the ties to the land, and there’s always something more to the story. As Cassie attempts to uncover the truth, she must fight against the ghosts of her own past that threaten to pull her back under.

Description from Goodreads.

“Outstanding… Vividly etched characters and a realistic plot lift this outing, and the well-done Montana setting is a plus. Box remains at the top of his game.” – Publishers Weekly

“Will render readers utterly immobilized until they’ve closed the book… Box has become the dominant mystery/thriller author of the mountain West.” – Booklist

“[A] stunning, must-read thriller following one the genre’s best heroines… Expertly plotted and filled with nonstop suspense, The Bitterroots is another stunner from C.J. Box, and a clear favorite for top crime thriller of the year.” – The Real Book Spy

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


A Keeper by  Graham Norton

keeperWhen Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, she’s focused only on saying goodbye to that dark and dismal part of her life. Her childhood home is packed solid with useless junk, her mother’s presence already fading. But within this mess, she discovers a small stash of letters—and ultimately, the truth.

Forty years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet except for the constant wind that encircles her as she hurries deeper into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.

Description from Goodreads.

“Engrossing… Norton subtly portrays how Elizabeth’s understanding of her past and present undergoes fundamental change. …this one will appeal to fans of sensitive character studies.” —Publishers Weekly

“With Norton’s wry sense of humour throughout, A Keeper is a gripping, thoughtful tale about the search for identity, belonging and self-possession.” – The Guardian

“In his highly compelling novel, Norton interweaves incisive observations of human frailty and female resilience into a very skilled plot.” – The Independent

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



HISTORICAL FICTION



Inland by  Téa Obreht ★

inlandIn the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life–her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home.

Meanwhile, Lurie is a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts. He sees lost souls who want something from him, and he finds reprieve from their longing in an unexpected relationship that inspires a momentous expedition across the West. The way in which Lurie’s death-defying trek at last intersects with Nora’s plight is the surprise and suspense of this brilliant novel.

Mythical, lyrical, and sweeping in scope, Inland is grounded in true but little-known history. It showcases all of Téa Obreht’s talents as a writer, as she subverts and reimagines the myths of the American West, making them entirely–and unforgettably–her own.

Description from Goodreads.

“Stunning… a richly textured and searing novel.” – New York Times

“Spectacular… [Obreht] spins a tale of such marvel and magic in a literary voice so enchanting that the mesmerized reader wants her never to stop.” – Entertainment Weekly

“[Obreht] has a talent for subtle plotting that eludes most writers twice her age, and her descriptive powers suggest a kind of channeled genius… No novel [this year] has been more satisfying.” – Wall Street Journal

“So rich with themes of love, legends and mortality that every novel that comes after it this year is in peril of falling short in comparison with its uncanny beauty.” – Time

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook



ROMANCE



The Oysterville Sewing Circle by  Susan Wiggs

oysterville sewing circleAt the break of dawn, Caroline Shelby rolls into Oysterville, Washington, a tiny hamlet at the edge of the raging Pacific.

She’s come home.

Home to a place she thought she’d left forever, home of her heart and memories, but not her future. Ten years ago, Caroline launched a career in the glamorous fashion world of Manhattan. But her success in New York imploded on a wave of scandal and tragedy, forcing her to flee to the only safe place she knows.

And in the backseat of Caroline’s car are two children who were orphaned in a single chilling moment—five-year-old Addie and six-year-old Flick. She’s now their legal guardian—a role she’s not sure she’s ready for.

But the Oysterville she left behind has changed. Her siblings have their own complicated lives and her aging parents are hoping to pass on their thriving seafood restaurant to the next generation. And there’s Will Jensen, a decorated Navy SEAL who’s also returned home after being wounded overseas. Will and Caroline were forever friends as children, with the promise of something more… until he fell in love with Sierra, Caroline’s best friend and the most beautiful girl in town. With her modeling jobs drying up, Sierra, too, is on the cusp of reinventing herself.

Caroline returns to her favorite place: the sewing shop owned by Mrs. Lindy Bloom, the woman who inspired her and taught her to sew. There she discovers that even in an idyllic beach town, there are women living with the deepest of secrets. Thus begins the Oysterville Sewing Circle—where women can join forces to support each other through the troubles they keep hidden.

Yet just as Caroline regains her creativity and fighting spirit, and the children begin to heal from their loss, an unexpected challenge tests her courage and her heart. This time, though, Caroline is not going to run away. She’s going to stand and fight for everything—and everyone—she loves.

Description from Goodreads.

“The latest from best seller Wiggs is a great mix of contemporary women’s fiction, an old-fashioned friends-to-lovers story, and a big dose of #metoo reading in one fantastic package. The dialog flows smoothly, the past and present time lines effortlessly tell the tale, and the raw beauty of the Pacific Northwest is the perfect setting. The characters are unforgettable, especially Caroline and her two adorable charges. They, along with the author’s focus on domestic abuse, are the standouts.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A large cast of interesting characters in a picturesque setting. Caroline’s struggle to turn her professional life around while falling in love… make the pages turn quickly.” – Seattle Times

“Wiggs writes with thoughtfulness, gentleness, and realism as she tells the stories of women affected by domestic violence. The gentle romance between two friends reconnecting never distracts from these survivor stories. A topical and excellent book for every library.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



NONFICTION



How to Be an Antiracist by  Ibram X. Kendi ★

how to be an antiracistIbram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. 

In this book, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism. How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

Description from Goodreads.

“Groundbreaking… Kendi dissects why in a society where so few people consider themselves to be racist the divisions and inequalities of racism remain so prevalent. How to Be an Antiracist punctures the myths of a post-racial America, examining what racism really is—and what we should do about it.” – Time

“A boldly articulated, historically informed explanation of what exactly racist ideas and thinking are… [Kendi’s] prose is thoughtful, sincere, and polished. This powerful book will spark many conversations.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“…will be mind-expanding for many readers. … To read this book is to relate to the author as an individual and realize just how much we all have in common. As Kendi writes: race is a mirage, assigning an identity according to skin color, ignoring the individual.” – Amazon Book Review

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 )

Connecting to %s