Monday, April 20, 2020

New from William Morrow Books

***Please note: these books, and many more, can be found in HCL’s downloadable collection

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines
This second cookbook by HGTV host and founder of Magnolia Table and Silos Baking Co. (Texas) offers a new selection of recipes for fans, new and old.  Gaines covers the basics (for example: cracker crusts, homemade tortillas and noodles), offers suggestions for homemade spice mixes, before diving into Breakfast, Soups and Salads, Appetizers and Starters, Side Dishes (such as the Cauliflower “Couscous” ---grain free shown in picture), Dinner, and Desserts.  Each recipe that can be found at one of the restaurants Gaines (along with her husband Chip) founded is clearly marked.  Several recipes have anecdotes and tips, but readers who are not familiar with the Gaines’s success might welcome more backstory and anecdotal information.  The Gaines’s have a large family (four children) and are used to running a restaurant so many of the recipes make a lot; most are easy to scale, and many can be frozen for later use.  Clean and well-laid out, this book will be a favorite for home cooks, especially for her fan base.

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn
Shortly after World War II and the death of her son, Esther Durrant sinks into a deep depression; her husband commits her to an isolated mental asylum on an island off the coast of England.  Under the care of Dr. Richard Creswell, Esther begins to slowly heal, and take comfort on her small island.  Almost seventy years later, the island, Little Embers, is all but deserted when Rachel Parker, a marine biologist is ship-wrecked on the island and finds hidden love letters on the island and is determined to find the person to whom the letters were written.  When she crosses paths with Eve who is in London helping her grandmother write her memoirs, irrevocable events are set into motion that will reveal long-kept, long-hidden secrets.  For fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. 

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves
This assured debut begins with Maggie taking a handful of sleeping pills and her husband Frank, who is playing chess in the next room, finds her only when their smoke detector goes off.  As Maggie lies in the hospital, her life in the balance, Frank tries to find the words to tell her why he hasn’t spoken to her in six months: he is carrying a tremendous burden and hopes the telling of their story, the telling of the reason fo his silence, will bring his wife, the love of his life, back to him.  Greaves’s pacing is perfect in this exquisitely painful portrait of a marriage that is as heartbreaking as it is life affirming. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

New for April

While the library is closed, you can still read and listen to your favorite books.
Check for downloadable titles. 

The New Husband by D. J. Palmer
Nina and her children Maggie and Connor are devastated when her husband Glen goes out fishing early one morning and doesn’t return.  Almost two years later, all that is ever found is his boat, blood in the bottom and Nina has begun dating Simon, a teacher at Maggie’s middle school.  The relationship moves along quickly and soon Nina and Simon buy a house together and try living as a family until Nina is once again a single woman.  Connor takes to Simon immediately, but Maggie thinks there is something evil about Simon and believes her dad is still alive.  Nina loves Simon but has had no closure of her marriage, especially as she slowly learns Glen had been keeping big secrets from her for the past two years.   Little by little, Nina realizes Simon in fact, may be too good to be true.  The more she and Maggie begin to investigate Simon, and the more controlling he becomes, the more Nina doubts everything she knew and knows in this complicated plotted, sometimes implausible domestic thriller.

The Golden Flea by Michael Rips
For almost two decades, a parking garage in Chelsea became a flea market every weekend.  Filled with treasures from mounted deer heads to antique jewelry, artwork and paintings, things visitors never knew they were looking for but find that they desperately need.  Among the tables, there were always treasures to be found, interesting characters, both vendors and customers.  Rips’s curiosity and passion for the next big find show through in this slice of New York past.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel
Few people ever leave the aptly named rural Missouri Ozark town or Barren Springs and those who leave, rarely return.  Eve Taggert, waitress at the local dinner, is a single mother who has just been told by her brother Cal, a cop, that her only child, Junie, has been found murdered in the park along side of her best friend Izzy, whose mother Jenny did leave Barren Springs, only to return with her husband Zach.  Eve has kept her drug addicted, drug dealer mother as far from Junie as possible, but now finds herself looking to her for help in avenging Junie’s death.  Eve feels she has nothing left to lose and wants revenge and vengeance, not justice for her daughter, and confronts her violent ex-boyfriend, a meth-cooking bar owner, and many unsavory characters from her past until she beings to revisit her own secrets and realizes the key to Junie and Izzy’s deaths may be loser than she realizes.  As difficult as this is to read, it is even harder to turn away from.

He Started It by Samantha Downing
This darkly comic novel finds siblings Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan who have not kept in touch over the years, but must reconnect when their grandfather dies and leaves them with the promise of a substantial amount of money with the siblings take a road trip together, following the same path that they took with their grandfather almost twenty years ago. Oh, and they must stay out of jail as well.  Sounds easy enough.  Not so for these siblings and Eddie’s new wife Krista, Beth’s husband Felix, and the secrets the family has kept from just about everyone.  As the group begins their tour in the south and travels to the west coast they stop at many attractions, mostly featuring notorious people (who knew there were so many memorials to Bonnie and Clyde?), Beth relives the original trip when she was twelve and Portia was only six, the in-laws quickly grown restless, and the siblings remember why they have stopped talking to each other.  In each chapter, sometimes on each page, a new secret is revealed, another nugget that explains why the family basically doesn’t like each other, but their eyes are always on the prize, even to the last page with one last searing surprise for the family and readers.  A Library Reads title for April.

Privilege by Mary Adkins
The lives of three young women at “The Harvard of the South”, Carter University intersect with tragic consequences when one of them accuses Taylor Brand, a legacy whose parents are generous benefactors of the university, of sexual assault. Annie Stoddard, quiet and unassuming due to her legs that are scarred from a pre-high school accident, was the smartest girl in her public high school in Georgia and feels everyone can tell she doesn’t belong in her new environment.  Bea Powers planned to be a doctor, following in her now deceased mother’s footsteps, until she met Dr. Louis Friedman who encourages Bea to apply for Carter’s Justice Scholars Program.  Though Bea is accepted and very enthusiastic, as a biracial student she feels she stands out and becomes more curious than ever about her birth father whom she never knew.  Stayja York isn’t a student at Carter, but interacts daily with the students, as a barista at the coffee bar, watching and absorbing all the goings on, invisible to most students. A part-time nursing student, she tries her best to care for her mother and keep her younger cousin Nicole on track without going insane.  After Annie’s accusations the three women’s lives collide, each with a different take on what happened, each offering their own perspective, when taken together provide a clearer, honest look at young women trying to find their way in the world, learning who to trust.  Each narrative is distinctive and necessary, all culminating in a tragedy with which each woman must make peace.

Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles
This follow up book to News of the World, Jiles’s National Book Award winner, stays in post-Civil War Texas, following fiddler Simon Boudlein with whom the Confederate Army finally caught up in the last months of the war.  Simon’s only concern is keeping his beloved fiddle safe, until he meets Doris, an Irish servant to a nasty Yankee captain.  Simon and his band of veterans travel the war-ravaged Texas countryside, trying to correspond with Doris, promising to her that he will buy land, send for her, and rescue her.  The exceptionally well-described post-war landscape with well-depicted characters helps to make up for the lackluster plot, which in spite of  typical complications, is clear will have a happy ending for Doris and Simon.

No Going Back by Sheena Kamal
This third novel finds Nora trying to stay one step ahead of the enemy she has made in Dao, the enforcer for the wealthy Zhang family who kidnapped Bonnie, the daughter Nora gave up for adoption and then rescued from the Zhangs.  Now crisscrossing from Detroit to Canada to Southeast Asia, Nora, with the help of unlikely allies Bernard Lam, an eclectic billionaire who has just lost his husband and ex-cop Jon Brazuca, finds that all roads lead back to her hometown of Vancouver where her past is about to catch up with her as she tries to keep Bonnie safe, and tries to keep both her daughter and her self alive.

Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell
Charlotte appears to have the perfect life: a handsome, wealthy husband, a gorgeous downtown loft, a beautiful precocious daughter, Daisy, and a successful florist business. Her mother, with whom she and her brother have had a strained relationship, especially since her mother set house to the family home with Charlotte’s younger brother Rocco inside just before Charlotte left for college; her mother is now living in Oaxaca, Rocco has gone through rehab, and a string of less than appropriate girlfriends, though his current one, Ruth, may just be a keeper, or so Charlotte thinks at first.  The more time Ruth spends with Charlotte and Daisy, the more apprehensive Charlotte becomes, as Ruth seems to be very attached to Daisy, often pretending often times that she, Rocco, and Daisy, are a family.  The closer Ruth tries to get to Daisy and Charlotte, the more Charlotte hovers and tries to protect her daughter…and the secret she is keeping, a secret that Ruth intimates she knows.  When the unthinkable happens and Daisy is taken from school, Charlotte knows it was Ruth and knows that Ruth must have more secrets hidden than Charlotte does.  The narrative switches easily back and forth from present day and Daisy’s kidnapping, when Rocco first brought Ruth into their lives, and a recent trip to Mexico to celebrate Charlotte’s mother’s birthday, keeping tension high as readers try to guess whose secrets will unravel first and what the consequences will be. 

Coyotes of Carthage by Steven Wright
This dark comedic debut examines where politics, money, ambition, and humanity meet in this keenly observed, oh so timely tale.  Washington D.C. political consultant Andre Ross has pulled himself up, and has a record as a juvenile, but a reputation for being tough as nails and using edgy tactics to win campaigns, mentored by his boss, firm owner, Mrs. Fitzgerald, or so he thought.  After Dre goes too far in one campaign, Mrs. Fitzgerald sends him packing to South Carolina with a small amount of money and one assistant, her twenty-year-old grandson, and one last chance to prove himself.  Dre, an African American man, finds himself in Carthage County trying to convince the impoverished, God fearing people in this rural town to let an international conglomerate mine gold on their land, to the company’s benefit.  Dre knows he needs a local face to front he campaign and finds it in bar owner Tyler, who is easily swayed by the trappings and flash of his perceived importance, but it is his wife Chalene who becomes the lead on the campaign, naively thinking --- or maybe not, that if people like you, they will vote your way.  Dre and Chalene are tow very authentic voices, Dre conscious of his past, often feeling like an imposter, Chalene, pregnant with the family’s seventh child, quickly learning and asserting herself showing just how strong a woman she can be.  

Hid From Our Eyes by Julia Spencer-Fleming.
Reverend Clare Fergusson and Millers Kill, NY police chief Russ Van Alstyne are getting used to being new parents, Clare’s still new sobriety, and the chance that the voters may opt to have the police take of the MKPD leaving Russ without a job.  Russ gets called out on a report of a dead woman in a party dress on the road, no apparent cause of death, a tableau that eerily mirrors a death in 1952 and one from 1972 in which Russ was the suspect, neither of which have been solved.  Russ, with the help Reverend Clare in between shepherding her flock at St. Alban’s Church and taking care of their young son, races against the clock to solve all three murders before the big vote which is dividing their small town.  After several years’ absence, Russ and Clare will be welcomed back by longtime readers of this series as well as new readers; this mystery is rich in backstory and detail and Spencer-Fleming’s exacting writing should propel this book to the top of every mystery lover’s to-be-read list for this year.

The Compton Cowboys: A New Generation of Cowboys in Americas Urban Heartland by Walter Thompson-Hernandez
 In Compton, California, ten black riders on horseback cut an unusual profile, their cowboy hats tilted against the hot Los Angeles sun. They are the Compton Cowboys, their small ranch one of the very last in a formerly semi-rural area of the city that has been home to African-American horse riders for decades. To most people, Compton is known only as the home of rap greats NWA and Kendrick Lamar, hyped in the media for its seemingly intractable gang violence. But in 1988 Mayisha Akbar founded The Compton Jr. Posse to provide local youth with a safe alternative to the streets, one that connected them with the rich legacy of black cowboys in American culture. From Mayisha&;s youth organization came the Cowboys of today: black men and women from Compton for whom the ranch and the horses provide camaraderie, respite from violence, healing from trauma, and recovery from incarceration. The Cowboys include Randy, Mayisha's nephew, faced with the daunting task of remaking the Cowboys for a new generation; Anthony, former drug dealer and inmate, now a family man and mentor, Keiara, a single mother pursuing her dream of winning a national rodeo championship, and a tight clan of twenty-somethings--Kenneth, Keenan, Charles, and Tre--for whom horses bring the freedom, protection, and status that often elude the young black men of Compton.  (From the publisher)

For more suggestions, don't miss Library Reads each month