Winter Book Preview: January 2014, Part I

December 19, 2013 Bookish Chatter 4

I started this preview series in early Fall in the hopes to make it a regular thing.  December is/was a crazy month so apologies in advance for leaving that month out. Traditionally, December is a quiet month for publishing so let’s use that as an excuse.

January is a BIG month in books.  Whether you’re spending gift cards you received for the holidays or kicking off your reading resolutions with a bang, I have a nice long list of books I’m really looking forward to this January. So to not overwhelm you with a long post, I’ve broke this list up into two.

Listed below are my highly anticipated books releasing in January. I’ve included the publisher’s summary to give you an idea of what the book is about. Click on the cover for more information (and to preorder!!)

The Descent by Alma Katsu (January 7): Of all the forces of the universe, the most mysterious, confounding, and humbling is the power of love. The epic story of love and loss, magic and destiny that began with The Taker and sparked a chase around the world inThe Reckoning comes to a surprising conclusion with The Descent.


Return to Tradd Street by Karen White (January 7): Facing her future as a single mother, psychic Realtor Melanie Middleton is determined to be strong and leave her past with writer Jack Trenholm behind her. But history has a tendency of catching up with Melanie, whether she likes it or not.…Melanie is only going through the motions of living since refusing Jack’s marriage proposal. She misses him desperately, but her broken heart is the least of her problems. Despite an insistence that she can raise their child alone, Melanie is completely unprepared for motherhood, and she struggles to complete renovations on her house on Tradd Street before the baby arrives. When Melanie is roused one night by the sound of a ghostly infant crying, she chooses to ignore it. She simply does not have the energy to deal with one more crisis. That is, until the remains of a newborn buried in an old christening gown are found hidden in the foundation of her house. As the hauntings on Tradd Street slowly become more violent, Melanie decides to find out what caused the baby’s untimely death, uncovering the love, loss, and betrayal that color the house’s history—and threaten her claim of ownership. But can she seek Jack’s help without risking her heart? For in revealing the secrets of the past, Melanie also awakens the malevolent presence that has tried to keep the truth hidden for decades.…


Phoenix Island by John Dixon (January 7): The story that inspired CBS TV’s Intelligence. Phoenix Island was supposed to be a boot camp for troubled children. But as one boy learns, the secrets of this jungle are as vast as they are deadly. When sixteen-year-old boxing champ Carl Freeman jumps in to defend a helpless stranger, he winds up in real trouble—a two-year sentence at an isolated boot camp for orphans. Carl is determined to tough it out, earn a clean record, and get on with his life. Then kids start to die. Realizing Phoenix Island is actually a Spartan-style mercenary organization turning “throwaway kids” into super-soldier killers, Carl risks everything to save his friends and stop a madman bent on global destruction.

What I Had Before I Had You (January 7): Olivia was only fifteen the summer she left her hometown of Ocean Vista on the Jersey Shore. Two decades later, she has returned to visit with her adolescent daughter, Carrie, and nine-year-old son, Daniel, recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Distracted by thoughts of the past, Olivia does not notice when Daniel disappears from her side. Searching for him sparks memories of that fateful summer when she met new friends, partied late, tasted love, and saw the ghosts of her twin sisters for the first time-a birthright inherited from her mother Myla, a beautiful and erratic psychic. When Myla dismisses the vision, Olivia sets out to find her sisters, a journey that takes her far from her fiercely loving, secretive mother and close to shattering truths about herself and her family. Told in radiant prose, What I Had Before I Had You is a haunting story of parents and children, guilt and forgiveness, memory and magical thinking that captures the joys and sorrow of growing up and learning to let go.

The Unremarried Widow: A Memoir by Artis Henderson (January 7): A world traveler, Artis Henderson dreamed of living abroad after college and one day becoming a writer. Marrying a conservative Texan soldier and being an Army wife was never in her plan. Nor was the devastating helicopter crash that took his life soon after their marriage. On November 6, 2006, the Apache helicopter carrying Artis’s husband Miles crashed in Iraq, leaving her—in official military terms—an “unremarried widow.” She was twenty-six years old.
In Unremarried Widow, Artis gracefully and fearlessly traces the arduous process of rebuilding her life after this loss, from the dark hours following the military notification to the first fumbling attempts at new love. She recounts the bond that led her and Miles to start a life together, even in the face of unexpected challenges, and offers a compassionate critique of the difficulties of military life. In one of the book’s most unexpected elements, Artis reveals how Miles’s death mirrored her own father’s—in a plane crash that she survived when she was five. In her journey through devastation and heartbreak, Artis is able to reach a new understanding with her widowed mother and together they find solace in their shared loss. But for all its raw emotion and devastatingly honest reflections, this is more than a grief memoir. Delivered in breathtaking prose, Unremarried Widow is a celebration of the unlikely love between two very different people and the universality of both grief and hope.

Mercy Snow by Tiffany Baker (January 14): In the tiny town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire, the paper mill dictates a quiet, steady rhythm of life. But one day a tragic bus accident sets two families on a course toward destruction, irrevocably altering the lives of everyone in their wake. June McAllister is the wife of the local mill owner and undisputed first lady in town. But the Snow family, a group of itinerant ne’er-do-wells who live on a decrepit and cursed property, have brought her–and the town–nothing but grief. June will do anything to cover up a dark secret she discovers after the crash, one that threatens to upend her picture-perfect life, even if it means driving the Snow family out of town. But she has never gone up against a force as fierce as the young Mercy Snow. Mercy is determined to protect her rebellious brother, whom the town blames for the accident, despite his innocence. And she has a secret of her own. When an old skeleton is discovered not far from the crash, it beckons Mercy to solve a mystery buried deep within the town’s past.

 The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart (January 14): An enthralling debut novel about a teenage girl who finds refuge–but perhaps not–in an 1840s Shaker community. In this exquisite, transporting debut, 15-year-old Polly Kimball sets fire to the family farm, killing her abusive father. She and her young brother find shelter in a Massachusetts Shaker community called The City of Hope. It is the Era of Manifestations, when young girls in Shaker enclaves all across the Northeast are experiencing extraordinary mystical visions, earning them the honorific of “Visionist” and bringing renown to their settlements. The City of Hope has not yet been blessed with a Visionist, but that changes when Polly arrives and is unexpectedly exalted. As she struggles to keep her dark secrets concealed in the face of increasing scrutiny, Polly finds herself in a life-changing friendship with a young Shaker sister named Charity, a girl who will stake everything–including her faith–on Polly’s honesty and purity.

Pandemic by Scott Sigler (January 21) : The explosive conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with Infected andContagious. The alien intelligence that unleashed two horrific assaults on humanity has been destroyed. But before it was brought down in flames, it launched one last payload-a tiny soda-can-sized canister filled with germs engineered to wreak new forms of havoc on the human race. That harmless-looking canister has languished under thousands of feet of water for years, undisturbed and impotent…until now. Days after the new disease is unleashed, a quarter of the human race is infected. Entire countries have fallen. And our planet’s fate now rests on a small group of unlikely heroes, racing to find a cure before the enemies surrounding them can close in.

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson (January 21): In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South. Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country. As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest. Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.

Whew!! That’s a lot of books! Come back tomorrow as I share the second half of the list!

What books in January are you looking forward to most?

4 Responses to “Winter Book Preview: January 2014, Part I”

  1. Anita
    Twitter: anitalovesbooks

    You always show me even more books! I’ve read one from January, In the Blood, Lisa Unger, it was so good!! Others I’m excited for are The Invention of Wings and The Dark Road to Mercy.. It’s looking like a great start to 2014

  2. Kailana

    I am looking forward to books by Jo Walton and Sarah Addison Allen in January. 🙂 I think there is something else… Maybe the new Alan Bradley?

  3. Ann Walters

    Unremarried Widow is an amazing and heartbreaking book — I’ll be reviewing it next week on the publication date.