Friday, January 5, 2018

New Books for a New Year

Check out these new books coming this month.  

Eternal Life by Dara Horn

How many times do people feel there is not enough time in their lives: not enough hours in a day, not enough time with a child, a spouse, or lover, not enough time to themselves?  Rachel does not have that problem: she has the opposite problem: she cannot die.  Over two thousand years ago, she made a contract with God: her son would life, but in exchange, Rachel and the boy’s father, Elazar, must live for eternity.  After dozens of husbands, hundreds of children, living in almost every country, Rachel is an 84-year-old widow living in Manhattan with a failing family business with an unemployed son who seems to have no direction.  Though she adores her granddaughter and great-grandson, Rachel knows she will need to leave them soon, and the only way for Rachel to be “reborn” is through fire.  In addition to her day to day woes is Elazar: he has been stalking her throughout time, convinced they belong to each other and are each other’s only true loves (this has not stopped him from having as many wives as Rachel has had husbands over the years).  Rachel is tired, her memories and past experiences weigh heavily on her; as she reflects on her past lives, she wonders if she will ever be able to escape what she now considers her curse, or if she is destined to walk this mortal coil forever.  This smartly written book is told with humor and heart, exploring the bonds that link families through the years, and the importance of a restful death and everything that comes in between. Listen to The Library Show on at 11:00 am on Thursday February 22 to hear an interview with author Dara Horn.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Anna Fox, child psychologist, has not left her Harlem home in almost a year.  She overmedicates herself with pills (prescribed) and alcohol (not recommended) as she tries to overcome her severe agoraphobia.  Her daughter and husband no longer with her and she has her tenant David to help her with tasks that require her to leave her house, such as garbage removal, and relies on grocery and pharmacy deliveries for her basic needs.  Anna also carefully studies her neighbors from behind her camera lens and sees the things people do when they think no one is watching, including her neighbor’s wife being stabbed by an unseen assassin.  Anna calls 911 but is quickly not only discredited by one of the detectives dispatched to investigate, but is accused of being delusional or attention seeking, having made up the incident.  Anna knows her pills and drinking are a problem, but she also knows what she saw.  She tries to come up with a way to convince the skeptics what she saw and in doing so unwittingly begins to face her own trauma, the one that led do her current condition.  This thriller is as dark and twisty as classic noir; do not look away from this fast-paced original thriller for one second or you may miss something.This book is already a huge favorite with librarians and bookstore owners.  Don't miss it!

The Wife by Alafair Burke
Angela Powell, a single mother with a tragic past she is trying to keep hidden, has reinvented herself: she has gone from being a caterer in East Hampton to being the wife of Jason, an NYU economics professor and media darling, between his consulting firm and two best-selling books.  Angela, who has spent her life trying to avoid the spotlight, is able to live quietly in their Greenwich Village carriage house with her 13-year-old son whom, though he never formally adopted, Jason treats as his own.  Angela’s carefully crafted life threatens to come tumbling down when one of Jason’s interns accuses him of sexual harassment.  When another woman, Kerry Lynch, makes an even more egregious claim, Jason goes from being adored in the media to being vilified as a fallen star.  Kerry’s disappearance makes the police, the media, and even Angela, take a closer look at Jason.  As their perfect façade begins to crumble, Angela must decide whether to stand by Jason and risk her past being exposed, or make plans of her own.  As this page turner unfolds, Angela’s narrative makes several different twists until all her secrets are finally revealed in the very end, casting her story and her truths in a much different light.  Highly recommended. Another highly anticipated thriller by the daughter of James Lee Burke.

Scone and Scoundrels by Molly MacRae
Janet and her daughter Tallie, Tallie’s friend Suzanne, and Janet’s friend Christine have settled into life in Inversgail, Scotland nicely.  Christine is glad to be back with her parents and Janet is living her dream co-owning Yon Bonnie Books and the attached tea room and bed and breakfast with the three other women.   Local English teacher Gillian Bennett has arranged for best-selling environmentalist author Daphne Wood return from Canada to her native Scotland where she will be the author in residence for the semester, but before she even arrives, Janet realizes how difficult the reclusive author will be from the list of demands she sends ahead.  When an American staying at the bed and breakfast is killed outside a local pub, Daphne declares she will investigate and Janet and company must help after solving a previous murder in Inversgail.  Janet wants no part of Daphne and her yappy god Rachel Carson, but then Daphne is found dead after eating scones from the tea room and the ladies must solve her murder to clear their name and save their reputation.  The west coast of the Scottish Highlands is a lovely setting for a bookstore/tea room and for this series.  The local characters add color and welcome Christine and Suzanne home and take Janet and Tallie in as their own.  The murders and investigations are well-plotted and paced and their resolution offers a little surprise.  This warm and inviting series is sure to quickly become a fan favorite.  Perfect to cozy up with on a cold winter night.

Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates
Less than two hours north of New York City, the woods near Grist Mill Road hold the secrets from the summer of 1982: three friends, Patrick, Hannah, and Matthew, become involved in a senseless, incomprehensible crime that will inform their lives over the next twenty-six years.  Now living in New York City, their three lives will interest again in ways unimaginable even though they are living through them.  As the past slowly creeps back into the present, it becomes clear that what happened in the woods did not stay in the woods and that the past unresolved can have irrevocable consequences that not all of them will be able to live with in this deliciously creepy gothic novel that surprises with each revelation and will keep readers rapt while they untangle the events that have created relationships from which no one can escape unscathed.

Brass by Xhenet Aliu
This debut novel tells the story of Elsie, the daughter of Lithuanian immigrants, a waitress at the Betsy Ross Diner in Waterbury, Connecticut, who becomes involved with Bashkim, a married Albanian cook, and quickly finds herself pregnant, and hopeful Bashkim will not only not bring his wife to America, but will divorce her and marry Elsie, so that the two can raise their daughter Luljeta, Lulu, together.  Seventeen years later, many things have come easy to Lulu, but in one day a rejection letter from NYU and her first suspension from school, throw her for a loop, making her feel that she will be trapped in the once industrial town in Connecticut.  Determined and headstrong, she sets out to find her past, and the father she never knew.  Told in alternate chapters, Elsie and Lulu tell their story, the story of a mother’s fierce love for her daughter and a daughter who thinks she needs to know from where she came in order to know who she is in order to know who she is and where she is going in this modern American Dream story.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
Vivian Miller, her husband Matt, and their four children live in suburban Virginia where Vivian is a CIA counterintelligence analyst who is working to uncover Russian sleeper cells in the United States and bring in their leaders in the hopes of receiving a promotion to continue supporting her family.  Reviewing files one day, Vivian is shocked to see someone’s face who is very close to her and with that one revelation she realizes the life she has been living is a lie and that she has just put her entire family and their lives in jeopardy.  Now Vivian is faced with the decision whether to uphold the promises she made to defend her country against all threats or weather to keep her family intact and safe; not knowing who to trust, Vivian finds herself in a race against time and can only hope she makes the right choices or risk losing everything.  Readers will race through this fast-paced thriller eager to untangle all the lies and deceit and will be left with an unsettling feeling at the ending and perhaps the hope of a sequel. 

Green by Sam Graham-Felsen
Boston 1992: six-grader Dave is one of only a few white boys at his public middle school. He’d rather be at the private school with his brother Benno, but his liberal minded parents say that Benno has special needs, but that Dave is fine where he is. Trying to fit in, he tries to dress cool and exhibit his basketball prowess, both of which get him mocked even more than he already it.  Dave finds a friend in Marlon, a black boy who lives nearby Dave in public housing; Marlon is everything Dave wants to be: smart, confident, academically successful, a good singer, and comfortable with the girls.  As the two try to assimilate into each other’s worlds, their differences begin to show and cause a riff in their friendship, cracks that Dave cannot understand: all he knows is that he misses his friend.  Readers are certain to fall for Dave---and Marlon---as he navigates middle school, friendships, discovering girls, questioning his parents’ choice not to practice any religion as he sees his friends going through religious rites and hears his grandfather’s stories of being an Eastern European Jew at the beginning of World War II.  Full of life and wonderment, Dave’s story will resonate and strike a familiar chord with everyone who has survived middle school in this beautiful coming of age story.

Killer Choice by Tom Hunt
Gary and Beth Foster are ecstatic---Beth is several months pregnant with their first child and everything is going smoothly until one day when Beth collapses and it is discovered she has a rare, inoperable brain tumor.  The one chance to save her life is experimental, available only in Germany, and costs upwards of $200,000.  Beth and Gary race to try and raise the money, but the store Gary and his brother Rod just opened isn’t doing well and while people are as generous as they can be, the money isn’t coming in fast enough and the couple needs a miracle.  When Gary is approached by a stranger offering the money he knows it’s too good to be true---and it is.  The man wants Gary to kill another man and walk away with $200,000 no questions asked.  Gary grapples this literally life and death decision and soon there’s no turning back as Gary becomes enmeshed in a web of lies and deceit and time is running out for everyone in this new twist on a domestic thriller that will have everyone asking themselves how far they would go to save someone they loved.

Blood Sisters by Jane Corey
Three girls leave for school one day: one dies, one, Kitty, incurs a brain injury and fifteen years later is living in an institution unable to speak, with no memory of how she came to be in this state.  The third, Alison, is a local artist and teacher who is trying to forget the past and work through her survivor’s guild.  When Alison accepts a job as an artist at a prison, she begins receiving what she perceives as threatening notes and feels that someone is watching her, menacing her, someone who knows the truth as to what transpired fifteen years ago, and someone who is unwilling to let go of the past.  Told in two voices, Alison’s and Kitty’s from inside her head, the plot slowly reveals bits of plot with shocking twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until all is revealed.

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
Chinese by birth, sisters Miranda and Lucia protect and cling to each other, especially after their mother dies.  Lucia, the younger sister, begins hearing voices and lives life impetuously and almost recklessly, marrying an older, but reasonably stable man only to leave him and have a baby with an Ecuadorian who is not in the country legally, and then move, with the baby, but not her lover, to Ecuador.  Miranda, older and more responsible, is living in Switzerland and has returned to the United States several times to try and save her sister, at great detriment to her own relationship.  How many times will she have to save Lucia and at what point does her responsibility to her sister end, question to which there are no easy answers in this novel that explores the bonds between sisters beautifully. 

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sara Pekkanen
Psychological thrillers are taken to a completely new level in this outrageously shocking and addictive debut.  It is said there are two sides to every story but in this case, there are three sides to this marriage.  Richard appears to be the perfect catch, handsome loving, attentive, and wealthy, but once you marry him he becomes a terrifying trap from which it is impossible to escape.  Trust no one in this multi—voice, fast-paced narrative and make no assumptions.  As motivations are revealed, each character become more conniving and cunning than the last.  Don’t look away for a second or something will be missed.

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