Category Archives: Bookish Chatter

Week in Review: July 27, 2014

I missed posting a week in review last week. We were in Hampton, VA for my husband’s family reunion. Not a lot of reading time, but plenty of time to enjoy family and some pretty excellent food.

This week, I’ve continued to work on “renovating” our home office. If you missed it, a few weeks ago I repainted a bookshelf to give it a new life. We picked up a reading chair for Justin. The moment he saw it, he had to have it. He thought it looked like a throne!  I think he likes it, what do you think?

JustinReadingChair
After picking up the chair, the next project was working on the wall art. I could only find a few items in stores that I liked (including the “Talk Nerdy to Me” canvas Justin is holding.  So, we decided to make our own!  I printed off some of my favorite bookish quotes and images and framed them using a simple photo mat.  What do you think?

Wallart.jpgCrafty

Next up, a new chair for the desk my husband and I share.  It’s a bit of a challenge for I want antique looking chair that matches our library theme.  John wants a big comfortable desk chair. Hopefully we can find something we both like! The final piece to the redecorating is bookish curtains my mom started making a few years ago. They just need a little more work before I can hang them. I’m thrilled to see it all come together!

In case you missed it, here’s what’s happened on the blog in the last few weeks:

How was your reading week?

Summer Book Preview: August 2014, Part II

Yesterday, I shared the first part of a very eclectic list of August books I am anticipating. It shouldn’t shock you that, since creating that list, I’ve discovered a slew of other books to add to my list.  Therefore, today I am sharing an amended second part of my most anticipated books of August!

Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson (Aug. 5):

Dovey learns that demons lurk in places other than the dark corners of her mind in this southern gothic fantasy from the author of the Blud series.

A year ago, Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction—and taking the life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she’s started to believe she’s seeing things that can’t be real…including Carly at their favorite café. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah—where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk—she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

The Frozen Dead by Bernard Minier (Aug. 12):

A suspenseful and chilling murder mystery set in a high-security asylum for the criminally insane and the snowy mountains of the French Pyrenees

In a snowbound valley, deep in the French Pyrenees, a dark story of madness and revenge is unfolding.

The first victim is a horse: its headless, flayed body hangs suspended from the edge of a frozen cliff. On the same day as the gruesome discovery takes place, Diane Berg, a young psychiatrist starts her first job at a high security asylum for the criminally insane, just a few miles away. She is baffled by the slightly unorthodox methods the asylums’s director uses, and then greatly alarmed when she realizes that drugs are disappearing from within the fortified institution while someone seems to be slipping out at night. Commandant Martin Servaz, a charismatric, Toulouse city cop fond of quoting Latin, can’t believe he has been called out over the death of an animal. But there is something disturbing about this crime that he cannot ignore. Then DNA from one of the most notorious inmates of the asylum, a highly intelligent former prosecutor who is accused of killing and raping several women, is found on the corpse… and a few days later the first human murder takes place. Servaz and his colleague, the mysterious Irene Ziegler, must use all their skill to solve the terrifying mystery.

Your Face in Mine by Jess Row (Aug. 14):

One afternoon, not long after Kelly Thorndike has moved back to his hometown of Baltimore, an African American man he doesn’t recognize calls out to him. To Kelly’s shock, the man identifies himself as Martin, who was one of Kelly’s closest friends in high school—and, before his disappearance nearly twenty years before, skinny, white, and Jewish. Martin then tells an astonishing story: After years of immersing himself in black culture, he’s had a plastic surgeon perform “racial reassignment surgery”—altering his hair, skin, and physiognomy to allow him to pass as African American. Unknown to his family or childhood friends, Martin has been living a new life ever since.

Now, however, Martin feels he can no longer keep his new identity a secret; he wants Kelly to help him ignite a controversy that will help sell racial reassignment surgery to the world. Kelly, still recovering from the death of his wife and child and looking for a way to begin anew, agrees, and things quickly begin to spiral out of control.

Inventive and thought-provoking, Your Face in Mine is a brilliant novel about cultural and racial alienation and the nature of belonging in a world where identity can be a stigma or a lucrative brand.

The Black Road by Tania Carver (Aug. 15):

The honeymoon is over for newlywed criminologist Marina Esposito. Her house is in flames. Her detective husband is in a coma. Her baby daughter is missing. And then her phone rings…

“I have something you’ve lost,” the voice said. “Your daughter.”

The voice at the other end wants to play a game. If Marina completes a series of bizarre tasks within three days, she wins her daughter’s life. If she fails, her little girl dies. The clock starts now.

In a desperate race against time, Marina begins to suspect that the madman is someone she knows – someone with a past as troubled as her own. But the truth is far darker than she imagines..

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo (Aug. 19):

Renovating an historic Memphis house together, three cousins discover that their spectacular failures in love, career, and family provide the foundation for their future happiness in this warm and poignant novel from the author of The Roots of the Olive Tree that is reminiscent of The Postmistress, The Secret Life of Bees, and Kristin Hannah’s novels

Nearing thirty and trying to avoid the inescapable fact that they have failed to live up to everyone’s expectations and their own aspirations, cousins and childhood best friends Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel seek respite in an oddly-shaped, three-story house that sits on a bluff sixty feet above the Mississippi.

As they work to restore the almost condemned house, each woman faces uncomfortable truths about their own failings. Lizzie seeks answers to a long-held family secret about her father in her grandmother’s jumble of mementos and the home’s hidden spaces. Elyse’s obsession with an old flame leads her to a harrowing mistake that threatens to destroy her sister’s wedding, and Isobel’s quest for celebrity tempts her to betray confidences in ways that would irreparably damage her two cousins.

Told in three parts from the perspective of each of the women, this sharply observed account of the restoration of a house built out of spite, but filled with memories of love is also an account of friendship and how relying on each other’s insights and strengths provides the women a way to get what they need instead of what they want.

One Kick by Chelsea Cain (Aug. 19):

Famously kidnapped at age six, Kick captured America’s hearts when she was rescued five years later. Now, twenty-one, she finds herself unexpectedly entangled in a missing child case that will put her talents to the test.

Trained as a marksman, lock picker, escape artist and bomb maker by her abductor, Kick could not return to the life of the average young girl after her release. So, in lieu of therapy, she mastered martial arts, boxing, and knife throwing; learned how to escape from the trunk of a car, jimmy a pair of handcuffs, and walk without making a sound—all before she was thirteen.

Kick has trained herself to be safe. But then two children go missing in three weeks, and an enigmatic and wealthy former weapons dealer approaches her with a proposition. John Bishop uses his fortune and contacts to track down missing children. Not only is he convinced Kick can help recover the two children—he won’t take no for an answer.

With lives hanging in the balance, Kick is set to be the crusader she has always imagined herself. Little does she know that the answers she and Bishop seek are hidden in one of the few places she doesn’t want to navigate—the dark corners of her own mind.

A heart-stopping, entertaining thrill ride, One Kick announces the arrival of a blistering new series by a stunning talent in the thriller realm.

Confessions by Kanae Minato (Aug. 19):

Her pupils murdered her daughter. Now she will have her revenge.
After calling off her engagement in the wake of a tragic revelation, Yuko Moriguchi had nothing to live for except her only child, four-year-old child, Manami. Now, following an accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation.
But first she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that upends everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a diabolical plot for revenge.
Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you’ll never see coming, Confessions probes the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in danger. You’ll never look at a classroom the same way again.

Don’t Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz (Aug. 19):

Eve Hardaway, newly single mother of one, is on a trip she’s long dreamed of—a rafting and hiking tour through the jungles and mountains of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. Eve wanders off the trail, to a house in the distance with a menacing man in the yard beyond it, throwing machetes at a human-shaped target. Disturbed by the sight, Eve moves quickly and quietly back to her group, taking care to avoid being seen. As she creeps along, she finds a broken digital camera, marked with the name Teresa Hamilton. Later that night, in a rarely used tourist cabin, she finds a discarded prescription bottle—also with the name Teresa Hamilton. From the camera’s memory card, Eve discovers Teresa Hamilton took a photo of that same menacing looking man in the woods. Teresa Hamilton has since disappeared.

Now the man in the woods is after whoever was snooping around his house. With a violent past and deadly mission, he will do anything to avoid being discovered.  A major storm wipes out the roads and all communication with the outside world. Now the tour group is trapped in the jungle with a dangerous predator with a secret to protect. With her only resource her determination to live, Eve must fight a dangerous foe and survive against incredible odds—if she’s to make it back home alive.

Amity by Micol Ostow (Aug. 26):

Connor’s family moves to Amity to escape shady business deals. Ten years later, Gwen’s family moves to Amity for a fresh start after she’s recovered from a psychotic break.

But something is not right about this secluded house. Connor’s nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons and destruction. Dreams he kind of likes. Gwen has lurid visions of corpses that aren’t there and bleeding blisters that disappear in the blink of an eye. She knows Amity is evil and she must get her family out, but who would ever believe her?

Amity isn’t just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a bloody end as she’s done before. As she’ll do again.

Alternating between parallel narratives, Amity is a tense and terrifying tale suggested by true-crime events that will satisfy even the most demanding horror fan.


Sanctum: An Asylum Novel by Madeleine Roux (Aug. 26):

Back at their high schools, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are plagued with nightmares about the traumatic summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they’d love to move on with their lives, someone is determined to keep the terror going, sending the three teens photos of what looks like an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Then Dan receives a list of coordinates pointing to abandoned houses in the town near Brookline, and he is convinced that the only way to end the nightmare once and for all is to return to New Hampshire College and follow the trail.

But when they arrive under the guise of a prospective students’ weekend, Dan and his friends are shocked to discover that the carnival from their photos isn’t just real, it’s here on campus. And as they sneak away from their undergrad hosts to visit the houses on their list, they find secrets far darker than anything they’d imagined—secrets about the real source of the late asylum warden’s power, and a society known today only as the Scarlets.

Now, haunted by the ghosts of a town with a terrible past and pursued by a host of very real enemies, Dan and his friends can only hope to make it out of this campus visit alive.

Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre (Aug 26):

It’s the rule—always watch your fives and twenty-fives. When a convoy halts to investigate a possible roadside bomb, stay in the vehicle and scan five meters in every direction. A bomb inside five meters cuts through the armor, killing everyone in the truck. Once clear, get out and sweep twenty-five meters. A bomb inside twenty-five meters kills the dismounted scouts investigating the road ahead.

Fives and twenty-fives mark the measure of a marine’s life in the road repair platoon. Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel. Their mission lacks the glory of the infantry, but in a war where every pothole contains a hidden bomb, road repair brings its own danger.

Lieutenant Donavan leads the platoon, painfully aware of his shortcomings and isolated by his rank. Doc Pleasant, the medic, joined for opportunity, but finds his pride undone as he watches friends die. And there’s Kateb, known to the Americans as Dodge, an Iraqi interpreter whose love of American culture—from hip-hop to the dog-eared copy of Huck Finn he carries—is matched only by his disdain for what Americans are doing to his country.
 
Returning home, they exchange one set of decisions and repercussions for another, struggling to find a place in a world that no longer knows them. A debut both transcendent and rooted in the flesh, Fives and Twenty-Fives is a deeply necessary novel.

The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson (Aug. 26):

Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.

Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.

Lock in by John Scalzi (Aug. 26):

*Teen son’s most anticipated book of the summer*

Not too long from today, a highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent—nearly five million souls in the United States alone—the disease causes “lock in”: Victims are fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to any stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. They are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “Integrator”—someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder will be that much more complicated.

But as Shane and Vann begin to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery—and the real crime—is bigger than anyone could have imagined.  The investigation takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture.

Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller (Aug. 26):

High summer in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia—but no one’s enjoying the rugged natural landscape. Not while a killer stalks the small town and its hard-luck inhabitants. County prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong are stymied by a murderer who seems to come and go like smoke on the mountain. At the same time, Bell must deal with the return from prison of her sister, Shirley—who, like Bell, carries the indelible scars of a savage past.

In the third mystery chronicling the journey of Bell Elkins and her return to her Appalachian hometown, we also meet Lindy Crabtree—a coal miner’s daughter with dark secrets of her own, secrets that threaten to explode into even more violence.

Acker’s Gap is a place of loveliness and brutality, of isolation and fierce attachments—a place where the dead rub shoulders with the living, and demand their due.

 

Whew! What an exhausting list!

So tell me, what did I miss? What August books are you anticipating most?

Summer Book Preview: August 2014, Part I

Wow, it’s hard to believe we’re nearly through the month of July! Since it is the last month of summer, I was hoping that August would be a slow month in the publication world so I could catch up on my reading. That’s definitely not the case!

Following is the first half of my most anticipated books of August list. I’ve included the publisher’s summary and an opportunity to pre-order (click on the book cover or title).  You’ll see that this is quite the eclectic list of books!

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer (Aug. 5):

The Committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barons, is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear Diary, an idealistic online Underground, stands in the way of that takeover, using radical politics, classic spycraft, and technology that makes Big Data look like dial-up. Into this secret battle stumbles an unlikely trio: Leila Majnoun, a disillusioned non-profit worker; Leo Crane, an unhinged trustafarian; and Mark Deveraux, a phony self-betterment guru who works for the Committee.

Leo and Mark were best friends in college, but early adulthood has set them on diverging paths. Growing increasingly disdainful of Mark’s platitudes, Leo publishes a withering takedown of his ideas online. But the Committee is reading–and erasing–Leo’s words. On the other side of the world, Leila’s discoveries about the Committee’s far-reaching ambitions threaten to ruin those who are closest to her.

In the spirit of William Gibson and Chuck Palahniuk,Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is both a suspenseful global thriller and an emotionally truthful novel about the struggle to change the world in- and outside your head.

 

Painted Horses by Malcom Brooks (Aug. 5) 

In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild. In this ambitious, incandescent debut, Malcolm Brooks animates that time and untamed landscape, in a tale of the modern and the ancient, of love and fate, and of heritage threatened by progress.

Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana, with a huge task before her-a canyon “as deep as the devil’s own appetites.” Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood. From the moment she arrives, nothing is familiar-the vastness of the canyon itself mocks the contained, artifact-rich digs in post-Blitz London where she cut her teeth. And then there’s John H, a former mustanger and veteran of the U.S. Army’s last mounted cavalry campaign, living a fugitive life in the canyon. John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than just the vanished past. Painted Horses sends a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest, sings a love song to the horseman’s vanishing way of life, and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future, often make strange bedfellows. It establishes Malcolm Brooks as an extraordinary new talent.

The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce (Aug.5):

David, a college student, takes a summer job at a run-down family resort in a dying English resort town. This is against the wishes of his family…because it was at this resort where David’s biological father disappeared fifteen years earlier. But something undeniable has called David there.

A deeper otherworldliness lies beneath the surface of what we see. The characters have a suspicious edge to them…David is haunted by eerie visions of a mysterious man carrying a rope, walking hand-in-hand with a small child…and the resort is under siege by a plague of ladybugs. Something different is happening in this town.

When David gets embroiled in a fiercely torrid love triangle, the stakes turn more and more menacing. And through it all, David feels as though he is getting closer to the secrets of his own past.

This is a darkly magic and sexy book that has a strong suspense line running through it. It’s destined to continue to pull in a wider circle of readers for the exceptionally talented Graham Joyce.

Dead Line: A Thriller by Chris Ewan (Aug. 5):

If you’re a security expert, what do you do if your fiancée suddenly goes missing, presumably kidnapped?

If you’re Daniel Trent, a highly trained specialist in hostage negotiation, the answer is simple: You find out who took her and you make them talk. But what if your chief suspect is taken as well? How do you get him back quickly—and alive—so you can find out what really happened to your fiancée?

Set in Marseille, Chris Ewan’s Dead Line is a fast-paced stand-alone thriller that pitches the reader into Daniel’s world, as he tries desperately to secure the release of Jérôme Moreau from a ruthless gang in order to interrogate him on the whereabouts of his fiancée. When things don’t go according to plan, Daniel must use all his skills and instincts to find the answers he’s looking for, but will he be in time?

Deadout by Jon McGoran (Aug. 5):

A mysterious plague is killing an island’s bees. A big government contract is at stake. A beautiful researcher fans the embers of a stalled relationship – Deadout is the thrilling follow-up to McGoran’s highly acclaimed novel, Drift.

A trip to an island off the New England coast—and away from the demands of police work—might be just what is needed to jumpstart Detective Doyle Carrick and Nola Watkins’ stalled relationship. But a mysterious plague is killing the island’s bees. Nola takes a job at an organic farm hit hard by the disease, working for the rich, handsome, and annoying Teddy, with whom she quickly becomes a little too friendly for Doyle’s liking. When Teddy’s estranged father offers Doyle a big payday to keep his son out of trouble until he can close a big government contract—and when Doyle meets Annalisa, a beautiful researcher studying the bees—Doyle decides to stick around.

Stoma Corporation, a giant biotech company, moves in with genetically modified super bees that supposedly are the answer to the world’s bee crisis. As tension grows between protestors and a private army of thugs, Doyle realizes that bees aren’t the only thing being modified. Annalisa’s coworkers start to go missing, and she and Doyle uncover a dark, deadly, and terrifying secret. Things spin violently out of control on the tiny island, and when Doyle closes in on what Stoma Corporation is really up to, he must race to stop them before their plot succeeds, and spreads to the mainland and the world.

 

2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by by Marie-Helene Bertino (Aug. 5):

A sparkling, enchanting and moving debut novel featuring three unforgettable characters and their unlikely connection

Madeline Altimari, a smart-mouthed, precocious nine year old, is an aspiring jazz singer mourning the death of her mother, and on the morning of Christmas Eve Eve, she is about to have the most extraordinary day of her life. After facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, she is determined to find Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she will make her debut. On the same day, Madeline’s fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who has moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with her high school love. And across town at the Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever by the end of the night. As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, they discover the possibility that their lives could change in one magical moment.

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero (Aug. 12):

When twentysomething A., the European relative of the Wells family, inherits a beautiful, yet eerie, estate set deep in the woods of Point Bless, Virginia, it comes as a surprise to everyone—including A. himself. After all, he never knew he had a “second cousin, twice removed” in America, much less that his eccentric relative had recently committed suicide by jumping out of the third floor bedroom window—at the same age and in the same way as his father had before him…

Together with A.’s companion, Niamh, a mute teenage punk girl from Ireland, they arrive in Virginia and quickly come to feel as if they have inherited much more than just a rambling home and an opulent lifestyle. Axton House is haunted…they know it…but the presence of a ghost is just the first of a series of disturbing secrets they slowly uncover. What led to the suicides? What became of the Axton House butler who fled shortly after his master died? What lurks in the garden maze – and what does the basement vault keep? Even more troubling, what of the rumors in town about a mysterious yearly gathering at Axton House on the night of the winter solstice?

Told vividly through a series of journal entries, cryptic ciphers, recovered security footage, and letters to a distant Aunt Liza, Edgar Cantero has written an absorbing, kinetic and highly original supernatural adventure with classic horror elements that introduces readers to a deviously sly and powerful new voice.

Violins of Hope: Violins of the Holocaust–Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour (P.S.) by James A. Grymes (Aug. 12):

The violin has formed an important aspect of Jewish culture for centuries, both as a popular instrument with classical Jewish musicians— Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman—and also a central factor of social life as part of the enduring Klezmer tradition. But during the Holocaust, the violin assumed extraordinary new roles within the Jewish community. For some musicians, the instrument was a liberator; for others, it was a savior that spared their lives. For many, the violin provided comfort in mankind’s darkest hour, and, in at least one case, helped avenge murdered family members. Above all, the violins of the Holocaust represented strength and optimism for the future.

 In Violins of Hope, music historian James A. Grymes tells the amazing, horrifying, and inspiring story of the violins of the Holocaust, and of Amnon Weinstein, the renowned Israeli violinmaker who has devoted the past twenty years to restoring these instruments in tribute to those who were lost, including 400 members of his own family. Juxtaposing tales of individual violins with one man’s harrowing struggle to reconcile his own family’s history and the history of his people, it is a poignant, affecting, and ultimately uplifting look at the Holocaust and its enduring impact.

 

Desire Lines by Christina Baker Kline (Aug. 12):

On the night of her high school graduation, Kathryn Campbell’s best friend, Jennifer, vanished. Ten years later, Kathryn still feels the void in her life—and the nagging, guilt that she has failed her friend. When a divorce sends Kathryn back to her Maine hometown, the young journalist finds herself face-to-face with her past.

As she explores the events surrounding Jennifer’s disappearance, a pattern slowly begins to emerge. All the puzzle pieces are at her fingertips—it’s a matter of whether Kathryn can put them together. Facing her own fear and grief, she is finally able to come to terms with how Jennifer’s death has shaped her life and the lives of those who knew her. In the process, Kathryn realizes that to understand the circumstances of Jennifer’s disappearance, she will have to expose herself to the same risks and dangers. Ultimately, Kathryn’s quest to find the truth becomes a quest to save her own life as she races against time to keep Jennifer’s fate from becoming hers.

I Can See in the Dark by Karin Fossum (Aug. 12):

What if you were arrested for a crime you didn’t commit-but had to prove your innocence without revealing anything about the crime that you did? A thrilling new stand-alone novel from Norway’s Queen of Crime, “a truly great writer.” (Jo Nesbo)

Riktor doesn’t like the way the policeman storms into his home without even knocking. He doesn’t like the arrogant way he walks around the house, taking note of its contents. The policeman doesn’t bother to explain why he’s there, and Riktor is too afraid to ask. He knows he’s guilty of a terrible crime and he’s sure the policeman has found him out.

But when the policeman finally does confront him, Riktor freezes. The man is arresting him for something totally unexpected. Riktor doesn’t have a clear conscience, but the crime he’s being accused of is one he certainly didn’t commit. Can he clear his name without further incriminating himself?

Stay tuned tomorrow as I share the second half of my most anticipated books of August list! 

Introducing: Subscriber Bonus! Monthly Giveaway!

SubscriberBonusIt seems I’m in a constant dilemma of what to do with my ARCs after I read & review the title. Typically, I add the books to a pile and take them to book club to give away.  That’s all fine and dandy, but they can only handle so many books. So, I put on my thinking cap.

Simultaneously, I’m constantly thinking of a way to thank my subscribers for, you know, subscribing and reading my blog. Then it hit me! I can kill two birds with one stone and offer a monthly giveaway to my subscribers!

Here are the details:

At the end of each month, I do a month in review post. Starting in the July post, I will list the books available for giveaway this month and open up the giveaway. Due to obvious reasons, only the print ARCs/galleys will be available for giveaway. I may add something a little extra because I’m just that kind of person!

Now, while I trust that all my subscribers are honest,  I will be verifying that entrants are actually subscribers of this blog. Since I will be handling the mailing of these giveaways myself, entries will be open to US & Canadian residents only.

We’ll try this out for a few months and see how it works. I may make a few changes along the way so bear with me!

Not a subscriber yet? Simply visit that nifty “subscribe” box to the left of this post and subscribe today, either via email or RSS feed.

 

 

 

Summer Book Preview: July 2014, Part II

Yesterday, I shared the first part of my most anticipated books of July post.  Today, I’m pleased to share with you the second part of this list!  I’ve included the publisher’s summary and an option to pre-order by clicking on the book image or title.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch  (July 10)

Yesterday cannot last forever…
A decade has passed since the city of Pittsburgh was reduced to ash.
While the rest of the world has moved on, losing itself in the noise of a media-glutted future, survivor John Dominic Blaxton remains obsessed with the past. Grieving for his wife and unborn child who perished in the blast, Dominic relives his lost life by immersing in the Archive—a fully interactive digital reconstruction of Pittsburgh, accessible to anyone who wants to visit the places they remember and the people they loved.

Dominic investigates deaths recorded in the Archive to help close cases long since grown cold, but when he discovers glitches in the code surrounding a crime scene—the body of a beautiful woman abandoned in a muddy park that he’s convinced someone tried to delete from the Archive—his cycle of grief is shattered.

With nothing left to lose, Dominic tracks the murder through a web of deceit that takes him from the darkest corners of the Archive to the ruins of the city itself, leading him into the heart of a nightmare more horrific than anything he could have imagined.

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah Harkness (July 15):

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Half a King (Shattered Sea)by Joe Abercrombie (July 15)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red Country comes Half a King, the first book in a stirring new epic fantasy trilogy. A blockbuster breakout that will appeal to fans of George R. R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Scott Lynch.

Yarvi is the unlikely heir to the throne-a clever, thoughtful boy with a crippled hand who feels out of place in a violent, Viking-like society. When his father is murdered, Yarvi becomes the king-and begins a journey that will change him, and the kingdom, forever.

Owen’s Daughter by Jo-Ann Mapson (July 15)

Two women—one a young mother newly out of rehab, the other just diagnosed with a progressive disease—must carve out new lives for themselves in a changing landscape.

Skye Elliot is given a choice after a car accident—jail or rehab—and her ex-husband, a bull rider who introduced her to the party scene, gets custody of their four-year-old daughter Gracie. It takes Skye eight months to get clean, but the day she is released, she has one plan: to be a good mother—better, at least, than Skye’s own selfish mother and absent dad. But she has to find Gracie first.

When no one shows up to pick up Skye from the center, she’s devastated at the number of bridges she’s burned. Then a surprise visitor arrives on horseback, leading Skye’s horse Lightning alongside. Together they set off to find Gracie, and to forge a relationship that transcends the hurt and anger that’s been brewing for almost a decade.

Owen Garret, a farrier and recovering alcoholic himself, has been in prison, yet still pines after his lost love, painter Margaret Yearwood, whom he let go to clear his name. But as can happen in magical and mysterious Santa Fe, Owen and Margaret’s circles cross, and they find each other, complete with old baggage and new.

The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace (July 15)

Outside London behind a stone wall stands Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, recently married Anna Palmer becomes its newest arrival, tricked by her husband into leaving home, incarcerated against her will, and declared hysterical and unhinged. With no doubts as to her sanity, Anna is convinced that she will be released as soon as she can tell her story. But Anna learns that liberty will not come easily. The longer she remains at Lake House, the more she realizes that—like the ethereal bridge over the asylum’s lake—nothing is as it appears. She begins to experience strange visions and memories that may lead her to the truth about her past, herself, and to freedom…or lead her so far into the recesses of her mind that she may never escape.

Set in Victorian England, as superstitions collide with a new psychological understanding, novelist Wendy Wallace “masterfully creates an atmosphere of utter claustrophobia and dread, intermingled with the ever-present horror of the reality of women’s minimal rights in the nineteenth century” (Publishers Weekly). The Painted Bridge is a tale of self-discovery, secrets, and a search for the truth in a world where the line between madness and sanity seems perilously thin.

The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier (July 15)

A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise.

Settling back into his childhood home and doing some renovations in the backyard to make the house feel like his own, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before. Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him… Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands.

Meanwhile Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, has always suspected that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher—two years after the supposed Butcher was gunned down. As she pursues leads that will prove her right, Sam heads right into the path of Matt’s terrible secret.

A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.

Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen (July 15)

It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost. Set before a backdrop of vanishing forest, this is a luminous novel of love, regret, and hope.

World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (July 15)

Critically acclaimed author Ben H. Winters delivers this explosive final installment in the Edgar Award winning Last Policeman series. With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force. But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank’s safety is only relative, and his only relative-his sister Nico-isn’t safe. Soon, it’s clear that there’s more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it’s up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out…for everyone.

The House of Small Shadowsby Adam Nevill (July 15)

A young woman with past psychological issues is hired to catalog a cache of antique dolls and puppets belonging to a wildly eccentric late millionaire in the English countryside.

Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top antiques publication saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and a few therapists later, things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself to catalogue the late M. H. Mason’s wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she’ll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting bloody scenes from World War II.  Catherine can’t believe her luck when Mason’s elderly niece invites her to stay at Red House itself, where she maintains the collection until his niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle’s “Art.” Catherine tries to concentrate on the job, but Mason’s damaged visions begin to raise dark shadows from her own past. Shadows she’d hoped therapy had finally erased.  Soon the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge and some truths seem too terrible to be real…

Whew! There you have it; all the books I’m looking forward to in July. Did I miss any? Which books in particular are you most looking forward to?

Summer Book Preview: July 2014, Part I

School is over and our crazy, hectic schedule is slowing down a bit. Ahhh, summer is truly here. Weekends are spent cooking out and sitting on the patio with a book in hand.  One would think the publishing world would slow down a bit with books but alas, the opposite seems to be the case.  Quite a few books are coming out in July that I’m excited about.  

So, hide (or take out!) your wallets! I’ve included the publisher’s summary and an opportunity to preorder by clicking on the book title or image!

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer (July 1)

Beyond the skyline of Toledo stands the Toledo Institute of Astronomy, the nation’s premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. One of these is George Dermont, a dreamer and a man of deep faith, who’s trying to prove the scientific existence of a Gateway to God, and speaks to ancient gods and believes they speak back. Its newest star is Irene Sparks, a pragmatist and mathematician invited to lead the Institute’s work on a massive superconductor being constructed below Toledo. This would be a scientist’s dream come true, but it’s particularly poignant for Irene who has been in self-imposed exile from Toledo and her estranged alcoholic mother, Bernice. When Bernice dies unexpectedly, Irene resolves to return to Toledo, and sets in motion a series of events which place George and Irene on a collision course with love, destiny and fate.

George and Irene were born to be together. Literally. Their mothers, friends since childhood, hatched a plan to get pregnant together, raise the children together and then separate them so as to become each other’s soulmates as adults. Can true love exist if engineered from birth?

 

 

The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases by Deborah Halber (July 1)

The Skeleton Crew provides an entree into the gritty and tumultuous world of Sherlock Holmes–wannabes who race to beat out law enforcement—and one another—at matching missing persons with unidentified remains. In America today, upwards of forty thousand people are dead and unaccounted for. These murder, suicide, and accident victims, separated from their names, are being adopted by the bizarre online world of amateur sleuths. It’s DIY CSI. The web sleuths pore over facial reconstructions (a sort of Facebook for the dead) and other online clues as they vie to solve cold cases and tally up personal scorecards of dead bodies. The Skeleton Crew delves into the macabre underside of the Internet, the fleeting nature of identity, and how even the most ordinary citizen with a laptop and a knack for puzzles can reinvent herself as a web sleuth

 

Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion (July 1)

Ten of the finest voices in women’s fiction today share stories set on the same day after the end of World War II at one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks…
A war bride awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform…
A Holocaust survivor works at the Oyster Bar, where a customer reminds him of his late mother…
A Hollywood hopeful anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room…
On any particular day, thousands upon thousands of people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, through the whispering gallery, beneath the ceiling of stars, and past the information booth and its beckoning four-faced clock, to whatever destination is calling them. It is a place where people come to say hello and good-bye. And each person has a story to tell. Now, ten bestselling authors inspired by this iconic landmark have created their own stories, set on the same day, just after the end of World War II, in a time of hope, uncertainty, change, and renewal….

Featuring stories from

Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife
Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us
Amanda Hodgkinson, New York Times bestselling author of 22 Britannia Road
Pam Jenoff, bestselling author of The Ambassador’s Daughter
Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter
Sarah McCoy, bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter
Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
Alyson Richman, bestselling author of The Lost Wife
Erika Robuck, critically acclaimed author of Hemingway’s Girl

Conversion by Katherine Howe (July 1)

It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First Clara Rutherford starts having loud, uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. More students and stranger symptoms follow: seizures, body vibration, violent coughing fits. The media descends on Danvers, MA, as school officials, angry parents and the board of health scramble to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? But Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago….

 

The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones (July 1)

A family is hunted by a centuries-old monster: a man with a relentless obsession who can take on any identity. The String Diaries opens with Hannah frantically driving through the night–her daughter asleep in the back, her husband bleeding out in the seat beside her. In the trunk of the car rests a cache of diaries dating back 200 years, tied and retied with strings through generations. The diaries carry the rules for survival that have been handed down from mother to daughter since the 19th century. But how can Hannah escape an enemy with the ability to look and sound like the people she loves? Stephen Lloyd Jones’s debut novel is a sweeping thriller that extends from the present day, to Oxford in the 1970s, to Hungary at the turn of the 19th century, all tracing back to a man from an ancient royal family with a consuming passion–a boy who can change his shape, insert himself into the intimate lives of his victims, and destroy them. If Hannah fails to end the chase now, her daughter is next in line. Only Hannah can decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to finally put a centuries-old curse to rest.

 

Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith (July 1)

What if overcoming the legacy of American slavery meant bringing back that very institution? A young black attorney is thrown headlong into controversial issues of race and power in this page-turning and provocative new novel.

Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He’s dazzled by what they’ve accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all—no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions…

Martin finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery—but this time around, the black men are called “Master.” Joining them seems to guarantee a future without limits; rebuking them almost certainly guarantees his death. Trapped inside a picture-perfect, make-believe world that is home to a frightening reality, Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay alive without becoming the very thing he hates.

 

One Plus One by JoJo Moyes (July 1)

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

 

 

Dollbaby by Laura Lane Mcneal (July 3)

When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been—and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum—is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.
 
For Fannie’s own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Garden District mansion. It will take Ibby’s arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby’s hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.
 
For fans of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The HelpDollbaby brings to life the charm and unrest of 1960s New Orleans through the eyes of a young girl learning to understand race for the first time.

 

California by Edan Lepucki (July 8)

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they’ve left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can’t reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant.

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind’s dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

 

 
The Competition by Marcia Clark (July 8)

 A Columbine-style shooting at a high school in the San Fernando Valley has left a community shaken to its core. Two students are identified as the killers. Both are dead, believed to have committed a mutual suicide. In the aftermath of the shooting, LA Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight teams up with her best girlfriend, LAPD detective Bailey Keller. As Rachel and Bailey interview students at the high school, they realize that the facts don’t add up. Could it be that the students suspected of being the shooters are actually victims? And if so, does that mean that the real killers are still on the loose? A dramatic leap forward in Marcia Clark’s highly acclaimed Rachel Knight series, The Competition is an unforgettable story that will stay with readers long after the last page has been turned.

Can you believe this just covers the first week of July releases? An insane amount of excellent books are releasing in July! Stay tuned for the second half of my most anticipated books of July list tomorrow!

 

BEA Bound 2014: The Best of Jenn’s Bookshelves

As we speak, I’m packing up to head to New York City to attend Book Expo America, the biggest publishing/bookish event in the country. While I do have a list of books I’d have my hands on, there is one book I’m dying to get my hands on:

 

 

If you are going to be at BEA and see me aimlessly walking up and down the aisles, don’t be afraid to say hello! Also, if you do want to meet up, I will be checking email messages periodically. Feel free to shoot me an email (jennsbookshelf@gmail.com) or tweet me (@jennbookshelves). Here’s a picture to help you spot me:

Bof5j6ZCAAAxqlc.jpg-largeSince I will be in NY through Friday, I opted not to run any new content on the blog this week. Instead, I  would like to focus on some of my favorite posts from the last few months.  These posts will hopefully give new readers an idea of the types of books I generally review, as well as tide over existing readers until I  return rested and invigorated next week!  Enjoy!

As you’ll see, I have quite the eclectic taste in books!

Enjoy the week, I’ll be back with vigor and all sorts of bookish energy next week!

 

Summer Book Preview: June 2014, Part III

I warned you there were  a lot of books I was looking forward to in June!  I don’t know how I’m going to possibly read them all, but I’m certainly going to try!

Following are the final set of books I’m anticipating. I must say, this has been one of my more eclectic book lists! As with the previous two posts, I’ve included the publishers summary and an opportunity for you to preorder by clicking on the book title or cover.

The Ways of the Deadby Neely Tucker (June 10):
When the teenage daughter of a powerful Washington, D.C., judge is found dead, three local black kids are arrested for her murder—but reporter Sully Carter suspects there’s more to the case. From the city’s grittiest backstreets to the elegant halls of power, wry yet wounded Sully pursues a string of cold cases, all the while fighting against pressure from government officials, police, suspicious locals, and his own bosses at the newspaper. Based on the real-life 1990s Princeton Place murders, Neely Tucker’s debut novel is a pitch-perfect rendering of a fast-paced newsroom and a layered, edge-of-your-seat mystery sure to please fans of Elmore Leonard and George Pelecanos.


Bliss House by Laura Benedict (June 15):
Death never did come quietly for Bliss House . . . and now a mother and daughter have become entwined in the secrets hidden within its walls. 

Amidst the lush farmland and orchards in Old Gate, Virginia, stands the magnificent Bliss House. Built in 1878 as a country retreat, Bliss House is impressive, historic, and inexplicably mysterious. Decades of strange occurrences, disappearances and deaths have plagued the house, yet it remains vibrant. And very much alive.

Rainey Bliss Adams desperately needed a new start when she and her daughter Ariel relocated from St. Louis to Old Gate and settled into the house where the Bliss family had lived for over a century. Rainey’s husband had been killed in a freak explosion that left her 14 year-old daughter Ariel scarred and disfigured.

At the grand housewarming party, Bliss House begins to reveal itself again. Ariel sees haunting visions: the ghost of her father, and the ghost of a woman being pushed to her death off of an upper floor balcony, beneath an exquisite dome of painted stars. And then there is a death the night of the party. Who is the murderer in the midst of this small town? And who killed the woman in Ariel’s visions? But Bliss House is loath to reveal its secrets, as are the good folks of Old Gate.

The Quick by Lauren Owen (June 17):
Lauren Owen’s thrilling first novel introduces an utterly beguiling world. London, 1893: James Norbury is a shy would-be poet, newly down from Oxford and confounded by the sinister, labyrinthine city at his doorstep. Taking up lodging with a dissolute young aristocrat, he is introduced to the drawing rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. On the cusp of achieving a happiness long denied to him, he vanishes without a trace. In Yorkshire, his sister Charlotte – only in her twenties but already resigned to life as a rural spinster – sets out to find her brother. Her search for answers leads her to one of the country’s pre-eminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the richest, most ambitious men in England. Trying to save James – and herself – from the Club’s designs, Charlotte uncovers a secret world at the city’s margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Dr. Knife.” As emotionally involving as it is suspenseful, The Quick will establish its young author as one of contemporary fiction’s most dazzling talents.

A Better World by Marcus Sakey (June 17): 
The brilliants changed everything.

Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we’d only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person’s most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional…and the rest of us.

Now a terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics are burning people alive.

Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose-because his opponents have their own vision of a better world.

And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down.

 

The Fever by Megan Abbott (June 17):
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hocky star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

That Night by Chevy Stevens (June 17):
Toni Murphy was eighteen when she and her boyfriend, Ryan, were wrongly convicted of the murder of her younger sister.  Now she is thirty-four and back in her hometown, working every day to forge and adjust to a new life on the outside.  She’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back to prison.  But nothing is making that easy–not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who clearly doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life miserable in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes.  Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out the truth and clear her name.

Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (June 19):
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days–as he has done before–and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives–meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.
When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…
A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.

So there you have it! The entire list of books I’m anticipating in June. Did I miss any? Which books are you most looking forward to?

Summer Book Preview: June 2014, Part II

Memorial Day weekend is upon us! Since I’ll be traveling next week for BEA (Book Expo America) I hope to spend the weekend relaxing, curled up with a few great books. Some of these books I’m mentioning in these June book previews are certain to be included in my pile of books.

Yesterday, I shared the first part of this list. I warned you, this month’s list is a big one! If I didn’t do enough damage to your wallet yesterday, following are some more titles I’m looking forward to reading!

Two Soldiers by Anders Roslund, Borge Hellstrom (June 10):
In a bleak Stockholm suburb where juvenile gang crime is rapidly on the rise, two 19-year-old boys, best friends since third grade and drug addicts since age 9, have spent their young lives establishing a ruthless criminal enterprise-known as the Råby Warriors. With the recruitment of children as foot soldiers, the Warriors are now poised to become the most powerful syndicate in the region.

Twenty years on the force, José Pereira now heads the Organized Crime and Gang Section in Råby. If it was not so deadly, Pereira might appreciate the absurdity of watching boys like Leon and Gabriel, raised on Hollywood images, morph themselves into characterizations of gangsters.

After Leon and Gabriel execute a maximum-security prison break, in which a female guard is kidnapped and feared murdered, Pereira is joined in his investigation by Chief Superintendent Ewert Grens, whom Roslund and Hellström readers will recognize as the maverick detective who never gives up. For Grens, this case awakens troubled ghosts from his past. Soon all four men are on a violent collision course that will irrevocably change all their lives.

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey (June 10):
Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth? 

Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson (June 10):
The stunningly creative, epic sequel to Wilson’s blockbuster thriller and New York Times bestseller Robopocalypse.

“The machine is still out there. Still alive.”

Humankind had triumphed over the machines. At the end of Robopocalypse, the modern world was largely devastated, humankind was pressed to the point of annihilation, and the earth was left in tatters…but the master artificial intelligence presence known as Archos had been killed.

In Robogenesis, we see that Archos has survived. Spread across the far reaches of the world, the machine code has fragmented into millions of pieces, hiding and regrouping. In a series of riveting narratives, Robogenesis explores the fates of characters new and old, robotic and human, as they fight to build a new world in the wake of a devastating war. Readers will bear witness as survivors find one another, form into groups, and react to a drastically different (and deadly) technological landscape. All the while, the remnants of Archos’s shattered intelligence are seeping deeper into new breeds of machines, mounting a war that will not allow for humans to win again.

Daniel H. Wilson makes a triumphant return to the apocalyptic world he created, for an action-filled, raucous, very smart thrill ride about humanity and technology pushed to the tipping point.

All Day and a Night by Alafair Burke (June 10):
The latest story dominating the tabloids – the murder of  psychotherapist Helen Brunswick—couldn’t be further from Carrie Blank’s world handling federal appeals at an elite Manhattan law firm.  But then a hard-charging celebrity trial lawyer calls Carrie with an offer she can’t refuse: Anthony Amaro, the serial killer police blamed for the murder of Carrie’s older sister, Donna, has new evidence related to Brunswick’s murder that he believes can exonerate him. Determined to force the government to catch Donna’s real killer, Carrie takes on Amaro’s wrongful conviction claim. 

On the other side of Amaro’s case is NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher, who, along with her partner, JJ Rogan, is tapped as the “fresh look” team to reassess the investigation that led to Amaro’s conviction.  The case is personal for them, too: Ellie wonders whether they got the assignment because of her relationship with the lead prosecutor, and Rogan has his own reasons to distrust Amaro’s defense team. 

As the NYPD and Amaro’s lawyers search for certainty among years of conflicting evidence, their investigations take them back to Carrie’s hometown and secrets left behind there. And when Carrie falls victim to a brutal attack, it becomes clear that the young attorney got too close to the truth.

 

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta (June 10):
Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.

But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father’s death the army starts watching their town—and Noria.  And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (June 10):
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

 

Never Look Back by Clare Donoghue (June 10):
Three young women have been found brutally murdered in south London, their bodies discarded in plain view, the victims only yards away from help during each attack. And the murderer is getting bolder.

Detective Inspector Mike Lockyer is the head of homicide on the South London police force, and with three bodies on his watch and a killer growing in confidence, he and DS Jane Bennett are frantically trying to find a link between these seemingly isolated incidents. Slowly, the case is also invading Lockyer’s life outside the office, and the fact that his daughter matches the victim profile is putting a painful strain on their already fragile relationship.

Meanwhile, Sarah Grainger is too afraid to leave her house. Once an outgoing London photographer, she started locking herself away once she became aware of a shadowy stalker following her every move. Now his actions are escalating. He’s desperate to tell Sarah a secret…a secret that Lockyer needs to know.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the last part of my most anticipated books of June!

Summer Book Preview: June 2014, Part I

Well, it seems we were graced with just a few days of spring before the heat and humidity of summer made an appearance! With summer brings lazy days of reading, be it spent curled up on a beach or in your favorite chair out on the patio.

I’m going to warn you now that this list of most anticipated books of June is lengthy. So many outstanding books are releasing next month. I’ve broken it up into three posts to save your eyes (and your wallets!) for undue pain or stress! This first post covers those books released the first week of June

I’ve included a link to preorder the book (click on the title or the book image) as well as the publisher’s summary.

The Director by David Ignatius (June 2): Graham Weber has been the director of the CIA for less than a week when a Swiss kid in a dirty T-shirt walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and says the agency has been hacked, and he has a list of agents’ names to prove it. This is the moment a CIA director most dreads.

Weber turns to a charismatic (and unstable) young man named James Morris who runs the Internet Operations Center. He’s the CIA’s in-house geek. Weber launches Morris on a mole hunt unlike anything in spy fiction-one that takes the reader into the hacker underground of Europe and America and ends up in a landscape of paranoia and betrayal. Like the new world of cyber-espionage from which it’s drawn, The Director is a maze of deception and double dealing, about a world where everything is written in zeroes and ones and nothing can be trusted. The CIA has belatedly discovered that this is not your father’s Cold War, and Weber must play catch-up, against the clock and an unknown enemy, in a game he does not yet understand.

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch (June 3):
When a medical mistake goes horribly wrong and Ralph Meier, a famous actor, winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser is forced to conceal the error from his patients and family. After all, reputation is everything in this business. But the weight of carrying such a secret lies heavily on his mind, and he can’t keep hiding from the truth…or the Board of Medical Examiners.

The problem is that the real truth is a bit worse than a simple slipup. Marc played a role in Ralph’s death, and he’s not exactly upset that the man is gone. Still haunted by his eldest daughter’s rape during their stay at Ralph’s extravagant Mediterranean summerhouse-one they shared with Ralph and his enticing wife, Judith, film director Stanley Forbes and his far younger girlfriend, Emmanuelle, and Judith’s mother-Marc has had it on his mind that the perpetrator of the rape could be either Ralph or Stanley. Stanley’s guilt seems obvious, bearing in mind his uncomfortable fixation on the prospect of Marc’s daughter’s fashion career, but Marc’s reasons for wanting Ralph dead become increasingly compelling as events unravel. There is damning evidence against Marc, but he isn’t alone in his loathing of the star-studded director.

A Barricade in Hell by Jaime Lee Moyer (June 3):
The powerful follow-up to Jaime Lee Moyer’s Delia’s Shadow

Delia Martin has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with the ability to peer across to the other side. Since childhood, her constant companions have been ghosts. She used her powers and the help of those ghosts to defeat a twisted serial killer terrorizing her beloved San Francisco. Now it’s 1917—the threshold of a modern age—and Delia lives a peaceful life with Police Captain Gabe Ryan.

 That peace shatters when a strange young girl starts haunting their lives and threatens Gabe. Delia tries to discover what this ghost wants as she becomes entangled in the mystery surrounding a charismatic evangelist who preaches pacifism and an end to war.  But as young people begin to disappear, and audiences display a loyalty and fervor not attributable to simple persuasion, that message of peace reveals a hidden dark side.

 As Delia discovers the truth, she faces a choice—take a terrible risk to save her city, or chance losing everything?

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith (June 3):
If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.

Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.

Your mother…she’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things – terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.

Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad… I need the police… Meet me at Heathrow.

Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (June 3):
In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

 

Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta (June 3):
When fourteen-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he’s plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.

The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.

The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez (June 3):
A boy and a girl who fall in love. Two families whose hopes collide with destiny. An extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.

Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better.

When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core.

Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart.

Suspenseful, wry and immediate, rich in spirit and humanity, The Book of Unknown Americans is a work of rare force and originality.


Suspicion by Joseph Finder (June 4): When single father Danny Goodman suddenly finds himself unable to afford the private school his teenage daughter adores, he has no one to turn to for financial support. In what seems like a stroke of brilliant luck, Danny meets Thomas Galvin, the father of his daughter’s new best friend, who also happens to be one of the wealthiest men in Boston. Galvin is aware of Danny’s situation and out of the blue offers a $50,000 loan to help Danny cover his daughter’s tuition. Uncomfortable but desperate, Danny takes the money, promising to pay Galvin back. What transpires is something Danny never imagined.

The moment the money is wired into his account, the DEA comes knocking on his door. Danny’s impossible choice: an indictment for accepting drug money that he can’t afford to fight in court, or an unthinkably treacherous undercover assignment helping the government get close to his new best friend. As Danny begins to lie to everyone in his life, including those he loves most in the world, he must decide once and for all who the real enemy is or risk losing everything—and everyone—that matters to him.

Stay tuned this weekend for more of my most anticipated books of June!