Best New Books: Week of 5/22/2018

Summer book season is in full swing now, as evidenced by the increase in books that are clearly published with beach reading in mind, in the case of Mary Alice Monroe’s latest even including the word “beach” in the title. We also have a few domestic dramas, a social satire, some high-concept thrillers, and the latest from horror master Stephen King. Non-fiction readers can look forward to John McCain’s memoir, Al Roker’s tale of the Johnstown Flood, and one book of local history. So what are you waiting for? Grab a book and get onto the beach!



FICTION



Beach House Reunion by  Mary Alice Monroe

beach house reunionWhisking you back to the shores of her bestselling Beach House series, Mary Alice Monroe weaves together a tale of the struggles and triumphs of the historic Rutledge family of Charleston, South Carolina. Beautifully wrought and rich with keen insight, this is an illuminating tale of new beginnings, resilience, and one family’s enduring love.

Cara Rutledge returns to her Southern home on the idyllic Isle of Palms. Everything is comfortingly the same, yet each detail is rife with painful memories. Only through reconnecting with family, friends, and the rhythms of the lowcountry can Cara release the hold of the past and open herself to the possibility of a new love, career, and hope for the future.

Meanwhile, her niece Linnea, a recent college graduate who doesn’t know where her life will take her, leaves her historic home in Charleston, with all its entitlement and expectations, and heads to her aunt’s beach house. On the island, she is part of the freer, natural ocean lifestyle she loves, rejoining the turtle team, learning to surf, and falling in love. Remembering the lessons of her beloved grandmother, Lovie, the original “turtle lady,” Linnea rediscovers a meaningful purpose to her life and finds the courage she needs to break from tradition.

In this heartwarming novel, three generations of the Rutledge family gather together to find the strength, love, and commitment to break destructive family patterns and to forge new bonds that will endure long beyond one summer reunion.

Description from Goodreads.

“This atmospheric novel depicts a lush sanctuary that draws in the needy and provides heartwarming inspiration.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A beautiful novel and a fantastic read that is perfect for the start of summer.” – RT Book Reviews

“Fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Kay Andrews will adore this tender and openhearted novel of familial expectations, new boundaries, and the power of forgiveness.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | AudiobookeBook


The High Season by  Judy Blundell

high seasonNo matter what the world throws her way, at least Ruthie Beamish has the house. Lovingly renovated, located by the sea in a quiet village two ferry rides from the glitzier Hamptons, the house is Ruthie’s nest egg–the retirement account shared with her ex-husband, Mike, and the college fund for their teenage daughter, Jem. The catch? To afford the house, Ruthie must let it go during the best part of the year.

It’s Memorial Day weekend and Ruthie has packed up their belongings for what Jem calls “the summer bummer” the family’s annual exodus to make way for renters. This year, the Hamptons set has arrived. Adeline Clay is elegant, connected, and accompanied by a “gorgeous satellite” stepson.

The widow of a blue-chip artist, in a world defined by luxury and ease, Adeline demonstrates an uncanny ability to help herself to Ruthie’s life. Is Adeline just being her fabulous self, or is she out to take what she wants?

When an eccentric billionaire, his wayward daughter, a coterie of social climbers, and Ruthie’s old flame are thrown into the mix, the entire town finds itself on the verge of tumultuous change. But as Ruthie loses her grasp on her job, her home, and her family, she discovers a new talent for pushing back. By the end of one unhinged, unforgettable summer, nothing will be the same–least of all Ruthie.

In a novel packed with indelible characters, crackling wit, and upstairs/downstairs drama, Judy Blundell emerges as a voice for all seasons–a wry and original storyteller who knows how the most disruptive events in our lives can twist endings into new beginnings.

Description from Goodreads.

“The sophisticated and delicious portrayal of subtle class warfare at the shore would make a perfect beach book, but it’s a pleasure to read any time.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A wry, often hilarious story of a woman trying to keep it together when everything is going so, so wrong.” – Real Simple

“Blundell’s engrossing novel has enough high-society proximity to make it beachy, but enough emotional reality to make it resonate.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Campaign Widows by  Aimee Agresti

campaign widowsCady Davenport is living the American dream…

At least she’s supposed to be. She’s in a new city, with a new job and even a new fiancé. But when her husband-to-be hits the road for the upcoming presidential election, Cady realizes she’s on her own–and that her dream life might not be all she’d imagined.

Until she finds herself thrust straight into the heart of the most influential inner circle in Washington, DC: the campaign widows. As friends, they’re an unlikely group–a fabulous Georgetown doyenne, a speechwriter turned mommy blogger, an artsy website editor and a First Lady hopeful who’s not convinced she wants the job. But they share one undeniable bond: their spouses are all out on the trail during a hotly contested election season.

Cady is unsure of her place in their illustrious group, but with the pressures of the unprecedented election mounting, the widows’ worlds keep turning, faster than ever, as they hold down the fort while running companies, raising babies, racking up page views and even reinventing themselves. And their friendship might be just what Cady needs to find the strength to pursue her own happiness.

Description from Goodreads.

“[W]hip-smart…. Agresti–thanks to her own husband, she’s experienced the roller coaster of being a campaign widow firsthand–makes today’s eye-rolling politics a page-turning adventure.” – Us Weekly

“A fun, escapist read about an election gone wild and the women (and men!) behind the scenes…. [T]his story of love and friendship will keep you turning the pages long into the night.” – PopSugar

“Agresti’s first novel for adults hits the right balance of Washington insiderness and women’s fiction…. Combining domestic and romantic foibles with an enticing cast (they may be “widowed,” but they are not staying home waiting for their men), Agresti’s smart beach read will ease readers into the 2018 election season.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Glitch by  Elisabeth Cohen

glitchShelley Stone might be a little overwhelmed. She runs the company Conch, the manufacturer of a small wearable device that attaches to the user’s ear and whispers helpful advice and prompts. She’s married with two small children, Nova and Blazer, both of whom are learning Mandarin. She employs a cook, a nanny, a driver, and an assistant, she sets an alarm for 2AM conference calls, and occasionally takes a standing nap while waiting in line when she’s really exhausted. Shelley takes Dramamine so she can work in the car; allows herself ten almonds when hungry; swallows Ativan to stave off the panic attacks; and makes notes in her day planner to “practice being happy and relatable.” But when Shelley meets a young woman named Shelley Stone who has the exact same scar on her shoulder, Shelley has to wonder: Is some sort of corporate espionage afoot? Has she discovered a hole in the space-time continuum? Or is she finally buckling under all the pressure?

Introducing one of the most memorable and singular characters in recent fiction, The Glitch is a completely original, brainy, laugh-out-loud story of work, marriage, and motherhood for our times.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] painfully funny satire of the tech industry. In Shelley Stone, Cohen has created an aggressively unlikable yet captivating and entertaining heroine… Clever, original, and unabashedly silly fun.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“An excellent send-up… Elisabeth Cohen’s debut novel, The Glitch, does a marvelous job of questioning what women have to gain from the effort to ‘lean in.'” – The Rumpus

Available Formats:

Print Book



MYSTERY & SUSPENSE



84K by  Claire North

84kWhat if any crime could be committed without punishment, so long as you could afford to pay the fee assigned to that crime?

Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.

But when Theo’s ex-lover Dani is killed, it’s different. This is one death he can’t let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.

Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up.

Description from Goodreads.

“A terrifying setting that feels rooted to the present day…. Imbued with a menace that feels both recognizable and urgent, and the decisions the characters make as a result feel uncomfortably real.” – RT Book Reviews

“Vivid and disturbing.” – Publishers Weekly

“Evocative, thought-provoking… I’ll read anything she writes.” – Omnivoracious

Available Formats:

Print Book


How Far She’s Come by  Holly Brown

how far shes comeOh, how far she’s come…but how far will she have to go?

Twenty-four-year-old Cheyenne Florian has just received the kind of job offer that dreams are made of. On the strength of a few vlogs, she’s recruited to be the new correspondent on the recently hatched Independent News Network, INN.

With its slogan “Because independent thinking is the only way out,” INN strives to be exciting and innovative. Yet once Cheyenne joins the INN team, she’s disappointed to find age-old dynamics in play. A few of the female staff resent her meteoric rise, while some of the men are only too happy to welcome her. Even Edwin warns her to watch her back. And then there’s the diary left for her anonymously, written by a female broadcast journalist icon named Elyse Rohrbach in 1991. The mysterious diary is accompanied by a note, urging Cheyenne to learn from the past. Is it meant as inspiration and friendly advice—or as a warning? Still, she can’t see how it has anything to do with her…until disturbing events begin.

As more unsettling events unfold—events that appear as if someone is engineering the similarities in Cheyenne’s life to match those from Elyse’s past—it becomes clear that she is a pawn in a very twisted game. But Cheyenne is determined to rewrite the rules and play her own game. Though they’re separated by more than twenty-five years, Elyse and Cheyenne are learning the same lesson: Nothing is more threatening than a woman who doesn’t yet know her own power…

Description from Goodreads.

“This provocative tale will resonate with many in the era of the #MeToo movement.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The House Swap by  Rebecca Fleet

house swapBe careful who you let in . . .

When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap–from their city flat to a townhouse in a leafy, upscale London suburb–they jump at the chance for a week away from home, their son, and the tensions that have pushed their marriage to the brink.

As the couple settles in, the old problems that permeate their marriage–his unhealthy behaviors, her indiscretions–start bubbling to the surface. But while they attempt to mend their relationship, their neighbor, an intense young woman, is showing a little too much interest in their activities.

Meanwhile, Caroline slowly begins to uncover some signs of life in the stark house–signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music might seem innocent to anyone else–but to her they are clues. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone who knows her, someone who knows the secrets she’s desperate to forget…

Description from Goodreads.

“[The House Swap] will keep [readers] turning the pages as the satisfying twists unfold.” – Booklist

“A fantastic thriller–dead-on domestic noir, full of tension and surprises. I loved it.” – Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Midnight Line

Available Formats:

Print Book | Playaway


Star of the North by  D.B. John

star of the northStar of the North opens in 1998, when a Korean American teenager is kidnapped from a South Korean beach by North Korean operatives. Twelve years later, her brilliant twin sister, Jenna, is still searching for her, and ends up on the radar of the CIA. When evidence that her sister may still be alive in North Korea comes to light, Jenna will do anything possible to rescue her–including undertaking a daring mission into the heart of the regime.

Her story is masterfully braided together with two other narrative threads. In one, a North Korean peasant woman finds a forbidden international aid balloon and uses the valuables inside to launch a dangerously lucrative black-market business. In the other, a high-ranking North Korean official discovers, to his horror, that he may be descended from a traitor, a fact that could mean his death if it is revealed. As the novel progresses, these narrative strands converge and connect in surprising ways, ultimately building to an explosive and unforgettable climax.

Description from Goodreads.

“A thrilling tale of abduction and escape in North Korea….highly entertaining.” – The Washington Post

“The best thrillers offer something more ambitious than simply raising the pulse rate of the reader. In Star of the North it is geopolitical complexity…This is a masterly evocation of life under the Kim Jong-un regime” – The Guardian

“Well-researched, fast-paced, and pertinent…a fantastic read.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book



ROMANCE



Herons Landing by  JoAnn Ross

herons landingWelcome to Honeymoon Harbor, the brand-new, long-awaited series by beloved New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross, where unforgettable characters come face-to-face with the kind of love that grabs your heart and never lets go.

Working as a Las Vegas concierge, Brianna Mannion is an expert at making other people’s wishes come true. It’s satisfying work, but a visit home to scenic Honeymoon Harbor turns into a permanent stay when she’s reminded of everything she’s missing: the idyllic small-town charm; the old Victorian house she’d always coveted; and Seth Harper, her best friend’s widower and the neighborhood boy she once crushed on—hard. After years spent serving others, maybe Brianna’s finally ready to chase dreams of her own.

Since losing his wife, Seth has kept busy running the Harper family’s renovation business and flying way under the social radar. But when Brianna hires him to convert her aging dream home into a romantic B and B, working together presents a heart-stopping temptation Seth never saw coming. With guilt and grief his only companions for so long, he’ll have to step out of the past long enough to recognize the beautiful life Brianna and he could build together.

Description from Goodreads.

“This amazing book is touched by pain and grief, but also love and hope. A wonderful novel!” – RT Book Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



HORROR



The Outsider by  Stephen King

outsiderAn unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

Description from Goodreads.

“What begins as a manhunt for an unlikely doppelgänger takes an uncanny turn into the supernatural. King’s skillful use of criminal forensics helps to ground his tale in a believable clinical reality where the horrors stand out in sharp relief.” – Publishers Weekly

“A juicy tale that plays at the forefront of our current phobias… [The Outsider] will remind readers of King’s early novel It.” – Kirkus Reviews 

“…a creature feature that seems ripped from his ’80s heyday, his pulpiest book since perhaps Cell, but a work undeniably founded in today’s fears.” – The A.V. Club

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook



NONFICTION



The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations by  John McCain

restless waveIn this candid new political memoir from Senator John McCain, an American hero reflects on his life—and what matters most.

“I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. Maybe I’ll have another five years. Maybe, with the advances in oncology, they’ll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. My predicament is, well, rather unpredictable. But I’m prepared for either contingency, or at least I’m getting prepared. I have some things I’d like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing, and some people I need to see. And I want to talk to my fellow Americans a little more if I may.”

So writes John McCain in this inspiring, moving, frank, and deeply personal memoir. Written while confronting a mortal illness, McCain looks back with appreciation on his years in the Senate, his historic 2008 campaign for the presidency against Barack Obama, and his crusades on behalf of democracy and human rights in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Always the fighter, McCain attacks the “spurious nationalism” and political polarization afflicting American policy. He makes an impassioned case for democratic internationalism and bi-partisanship. He tells stories of his most satisfying moments of public service, including his work with another giant of the Senate, Edward M. Kennedy.
Senator McCain recalls his disagreements with several presidents, and minces no words in his objections to some of President Trump’s statements and policies. At the same time, he offers a positive vision of America that looks beyond the Trump presidency.

The Restless Wave is John McCain at his best.

Description from Goodreads.

“Remarkable….a book-length meditation on what it means to face the hard challenges of long life and the sobering likelihood of imminent death. John McCain’s valedictory message, at the booksellers under the title The Restless Wave, is a 400-page reflection on hardship, a homily on purpose, a celebration of life — and a challenge to Americans to live up to their values and founding principles at a time when both are in jeopardy.” – The Boston Globe

“In what may be his final public act, John McCain this month will publish a book that bequeaths us a rare gift….the volume does not burden us with a lot of high-minded advice based on lessons learned, nor does it pull us down into treacly memoir. McCain is still very much McCain….What he does offer, though, at this peculiar moment of our history, is far more precious: a reminder of the values and principles that our nation has long stood for, and a spur to us to recover from this unhealthy interlude and stand for them again. Without preaching, instead by recounting stories of battles won and (often) lost, McCain unspools something akin to a self-help manual for a country that has, at least for the moment, lost its way.” – The Washington Post

Available Formats:

Print Book


Ruthless Tide: The Heroes and Villains of the Johnstown Flood, America’s Astonishing Gilded Age Disaster by  Al Roker

ruthless tideMay 1889: After a deluge of rainfall—nearly a foot in less than twenty-four hours—swelled the Little Conemaugh River, panicked engineers watched helplessly as swiftly rising waters threatened to breach the South Fork Dam in central Pennsylvania. Though they telegraphed neighboring towns on this last morning in May, warning of the impending danger, residents, used to false alarms, remained in their homes.

At 3:10 P.M., the dam gave way, releasing twenty million tons of water. Gathering speed as it flowed southwest, the deluge wiped out entire towns in its path and picked up debris—trees, houses, animals—before reaching Johnstown, fourteen miles downstream. Traveling forty miles an hour, with swells as high as sixty feet, the deadly floodwaters razed the mill town—home to 20,000 people—in minutes. The Great Flood, as it would come to be called, remains the deadliest in US history, killing more than 2,200 people and causing seventeen million dollars in damage.

Al Roker tells the riveting story of this tragedy, which remains one of the worst weather-related disasters in American history. Ruthless Tide follows a compelling cast of characters whose fates converged because of that tragic day, including John Parke, the engineer whose heroic efforts failed to save the dam; Henry Clay Frick, the robber baron whose fancy sport fishing resort was responsible for modifications that weakened the structure; and Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, who spent five months in Johnstown leading one of the first organized disaster relief efforts. Weaving together their stories and those of many ordinary citizens whose lives were forever altered by the event, Roker creates a classic account of our natural world at its most terrifying.

Description from Goodreads.

“Roker’s harrowing tale of survival and loss… reads like a nail-biting thriller.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“An exciting, tragic story seasoned with sensitive social analysis and criticism.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Cape May Navy: Delaware Bay Privateers in the American Revolution by  J.P. Hand & Daniel P. Stites

Adobe Photoshop PDFThe Delaware Bay during the Revolutionary War was vital for trade and home to a host of armed conflicts between British vessels and American privateers. Cape May County captains in their light, fast vessels captured dozens of British merchant ships off the Atlantic coast. At the Battle of Delaware Bay, Lieutenant Joshua Barney aboard the Hyder Ally overcame massive odds and defeated the British warship General Monk. Colonel Elijah Hand, local hero of the skirmish at Quinton’s Bridge, took his military talents to the seas, where he dueled with Tory privateers. Still in his twenties, Yelverton Taylor captured the Triton with hundreds of Hessian soldiers on board. Authors James P. Hand and Daniel P. Stites chart the exciting history of the Cape May Navy in the War for Independence.

Description from Goodreads.

Available Formats:

Print Book

 

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