Best New Books: Week of 12/31/2019

It’s the last Best New Books post of the decade! And we’re certainly sending 2019 out with a bang! Several very buzzed-about books are coming out today, so make sure you come and pick up a copy for yourself, so you aren’t left out of the conversation in 2020. Happy New Year everybody!



FICTION



Such a Fun Age by  Kiley Reid

such a fun ageAlix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

Description from Goodreads.

“Kiley Reid has written the most provocative page-turner of the year… [Such a Fun Age] nestl[es] a nuanced take on racial biases and class divides into a page-turning saga of betrayals, twists, and perfectly awkward relationships… The novel feels bound for book-club glory, due to its sheer readability. The dialogue crackles with naturalistic flair. The plotting is breezy and surprising. Plus, while Reid’s feel for both the funny and the political is undeniable, she imbues her flawed heroes with real heart.” – Entertainment Weekly

Fun is the operative word in Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid’s delectably discomfiting debut. The buzzed-about novel takes a thoroughly modern approach to the timeless upstairs-downstairs trope… Told from alternating points of view, the novel loops through vibrant vignettes set in reggaeton nightclubs and Philadelphia farmers markets before landing firmly on one side of the maternal divide… This page-turner goes down like comfort food, but there’s no escaping the heartburn.” – Vogue

“[A] sparkling debut… [Such A Fun Age is] an entertaining tale with plenty to say about race, human connection, and the pitfalls of good intentions.” – People

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



SUSPENSE



The Wives by  Tarryn Fisher ★

wivesThursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

Description from Goodreads.

“…Fisher is a slick writer who keeps a tight rein on her lightning-fast plot, and the lengths that her feisty narrator goes to in order to reclaim her life make for salaciously satisfying reading. … a lot of fun. Fisher is a writer to watch.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…engrossing… Fisher smoothly inserts moments of self-doubt, longing, paranoia, and triumph into her unsettling narrative as she draws the reader into Thursday’s conflicted and increasingly complicated life. Suspense fans will be rewarded.” – Publishers Weekly

“…one of the most insane, engrossing books I’ve read all year.” – Long and Short Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | Hoopla eAudiobook


The Playground by  Jane Shemilt

playgroundOver the course of a long, hot summer in London, the lives of three very different married couples collide when their children join the same tutoring circle, resulting in illicit relationships, shocking violence, and unimaginable fallout.

There’s Eve, a bougie earth mother with a well-stocked trust fund; she has three little ones, a blue-collar husband and is obsessed with her Instagrammable recipes and lifestyle. And Melissa, a successful interior designer whose casually cruel banker husband is careful not to leave visible bruises; she curates her perfectly thin body so closely she misses everything their teenage daughter is hiding. Then there’s Grace, a young Zimbabwean immigrant, who lives in a high-rise housing project with her two children and their English father Martin, an award-winning but chronically broke novelist; she does far more for her family than she should have to.

As the weeks go by, the couples become very close; there are barbecues, garden parties, a holiday at a country villa in Greece. Resentments flare. An affair begins. Unnoticed, the children run wild. The couples are busily watching each other, so distracted and self-absorbed that they forget to watch their children. No one sees the five children at their secret games or realize how much their family dynamics are changing until tragedy strikes.

The story twists and then twists again while the three families desperately search for answers. It’s only as they begin to unravel the truth of what happened over the summer that they realize evil has crept quietly into their world.

But has this knowledge come too late?

Description from Goodreads.

“Fans of Liane Moriarty will devour Shemilt’s domestic suspense novel… Twisty and unexpected, The Playground’s dark take on suburbia will have parents hugging their children just a bit tighter.” – Amazon Book Review

“Countless psychological thrillers get compared to Big Little Lies; Shemilt’s is the real deal.” – People

“[S]tarts off strong and never lets up leading up to the shocking twists and turns. A solid book to end this year with.” – Red Carpet Crash

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook


 

Good Girls Lie by  J.T. Ellison

good girls lieGoode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely… because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] high-tension thriller… Alternating points of view raise the suspense, blurring the lines between what’s true and false.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Ellison has created a complex, convoluted plot that mystery fans will savor.” – Library Journal

Good Girls Lie is an entertainingly twisted coming-of-age tale, pitting the desire for privacy against the corrosiveness of secrecy and taking an often harrowing look at how wealth and power can lull recipients into believing they’re untouchable.” – BookPage

Available Formats:

eBook | Hoopla eAudiobook


Lost Hills by  Lee Goldberg

lost hillsA video of Deputy Eve Ronin’s off-duty arrest of an abusive movie star goes viral, turning her into a popular hero at a time when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is plagued by scandal. The sheriff, desperate for more positive press, makes Eve the youngest female homicide detective in the department’s history.

Now Eve, with a lot to learn and resented by her colleagues, has to justify her new badge. Her chance comes when she and her burned-out, soon-to-retire partner are called to the blood-splattered home of a missing single mother and her two kids. The horrific carnage screams multiple murder—but there are no corpses.

Eve has to rely on her instincts and tenacity to find the bodies and capture the vicious killer, all while battling her own insecurities and mounting pressure from the media, her bosses, and the bereaved family. It’s a deadly ordeal that will either prove her skills… or totally destroy her.

Description from Goodreads.

“This nimble, sure-footed series launch from bestseller Goldberg… builds to a thrilling, visually striking climax. Readers will cheer Ronin every step of the way.” – Publishers Weekly

“A cop novel so good it makes much of the old guard read like they’re going through the motions until they can retire… the real appeal here is Goldberg’s lean prose, which imbues just-the-facts procedure with remarkable tension and cranks up to a stunning description of a fire that was like ‘Christmas in hell.’” – Booklist

“This sterling thriller is carved straight out of the world of Harlan Coben and Lisa Gardner… Lost Hills is a book to be found and savored.” – BookTrib

Available Formats:

Print Book



ROMANCE



Husband Material by  Emily Belden

husband materialSometimes love is unpredictable…

Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.

Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.

But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.

Description from Goodreads.

“Sensitive, thoughtful, and touching.” – Library Journal

“Witty, full of heart… will appeal to fans of Sophie Kinsella.” – Booklist

“Charming.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Hoopla eAudiobook


Love Lettering by  Kate Clayborn

love letteringMeg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid…

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other about their lives, work, and regrets, both try to ignore the fact that their unlikely connection is growing deeper. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late…

Description from Goodreads.

“This whimsical rom-com from Clayborn contrasts cute romance with cringe-worthy moments of embarrassment for the bumbling central couple… [The] loving descriptions of New York are deeply appealing. This touching story is full of love and laughter.” – Publishers Weekly

“Meg’s dry observations are hilarious (her drink is a ‘defibrillator in a cup’), and even readers familiar with New York will see the city in a new light, through its signs and symbols. Reid and Meg are wonderfully unique, and their romance carves a sweet, winding, and sexy path to self-acceptance and mutual affirmation. Fresh, funny, clever, and deeply satisfying.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Hoopla eAudiobook



NONFICTION



Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by  B.J. Fogg, PhD

tiny habitsThe world’s leading expert on habit formation shows how you can have a happier, healthier life: by starting small. 
 
Myth: Change is hard. Reality: Change can be easy if you know the simple steps of Behavior Design.
 
Myth: It’s all about willpower. Reality: Willpower is fickle and finite, and exactly the wrong way to create habits.
 
Myth: You have to make a plan and stick to it. Reality: You transform your life by starting small and being flexible.
 
BJ FOGG is here to change your life—and revolutionize how we think about human behavior. Based on twenty years of research and Fogg’s experience coaching more than 40,000 people, Tiny Habits cracks the code of habit formation. With breakthrough discoveries in every chapter, you’ll learn the simplest proven ways to transform your life. Fogg shows you how to feel good about your successes instead of bad about your failures. 
 
Already the habit guru to companies around the world, Fogg brings his proven method to a global audience for the first time.  Whether you want to lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or be more productive each day, Tiny Habits makes it easy to achieve.

Description from Goodreads.

“…myth-breaking and persuasive research… Balancing useful practices (including many charts, tables, and graphs) with his own story of personal transformation, Fogg’s convincing method will help any reader reconfigure their habits.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook

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