Best New Books: Week of 3/24/2020

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.” – Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven


The Glass Hotel by  Emily St. John Mandel ★

glass hotelVincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship.

Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

Description from Goodreads.

“Deeply imagined, philosophically profound… The Glass Hotel moves forward propulsively, its characters continually on the run… Richly satisfying… The Glass Hotel is ultimately as immersive a reading experience as its predecessor [Station Eleven], finding all the necessary imaginative depth within the more realistic confines of its world… Revolutionary.” – The Atlantic

“An eerie, compelling follow-up… not your grandmother’s Agatha Christie murder mystery or haunted hotel ghost story… The novel’s ongoing sense of haunting extends well beyond its ghosts… The ghosts in  The Glass Hotel are directly connected to its secrets and scandals, which mirror those of our time… Like all Mandel’s novels, The Glass Hotel is flawlessly constructed… The Glass Hotel declares the world to be as bleak as it is beautiful, just like this novel.” – Boston Globe

“Mandel… specializes in fiction that weaves together seemingly unrelated people, places and things. The Glass Hotel… is no exception… Kaleidoscopic… Mandel dissects the surreal division between those who are conscious of ongoing crimes, and those who are unwittingly brought into them… The Glass Hotel… examine[s]  how we respond to chaos after catastrophe.” – TIME

“A careful, damning study of the forms of disaster humanity brings down on itself… In a world where rolling disasters fade into one another, it’s a reminder that Mandel wants to lurch us out of the tedium.” – Vulture

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Herd by  Andrea Bartz ★

herdThe name of the elite, women-only coworking space stretches across the wall behind the check-in desk: THE HERD, the H-E-R always in purple. In-the-know New Yorkers crawl over each other to apply for membership to this community that prides itself on mentorship and empowerment. Among the hopefuls is Katie Bradley, who’s just returned from the Midwest after a stint of book research blew up in her face. Luckily, Katie has an in, thanks to her sister Hana, an original Herder and the best friend of Eleanor Walsh, its charismatic founder.

As head of PR, Hana is working around the clock in preparation for a huge announcement from Eleanor—one that would change the trajectory of The Herd forever. Though Katie loves her sister’s crew, she secretly hopes she’s found her next book subject in Eleanor, who’s brilliant, trailblazing—and extremely private.

Then, on the night of the glitzy Herd news conference, Eleanor vanishes without a trace. Everybody has a theory about what made Eleanor run, but when the police suggest foul play, everyone is a suspect: Eleanor’s husband, other Herders, the men’s rights groups that have had it out for the Herd since its launch—even Eleanor’s closest friends. As Hana struggles to figure out what her friend was hiding and Katie chases the story of her life, the sisters must face the secrets they’ve been keeping from each other. From the author of The Lost Night comes a thrilling novel that shows just how dangerous it can be when women’s perfect veneers start to crack, crumble, and then fall away all together.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] propulsive thriller… Through every twist, these enterprising ladies will have you breathlessly trying to keep up with them.” – Marie Claire

“This thriller offers a nonstop plot and layers of mystery—not to mention smart commentary on female friendships and social media.” – Real Simple

“Pulsing with suspense, this twisty story also tackles some timely themes, including the competitive world of media, female ambition, and the cost of success.” – Book Riot

“As she did in her debut The Lost Night, Andrea Bartz constructed a complex cast of female characters who will make ‘feminist thriller’ your new favorite genre. Read The Herd ASAP—but maybe not at a coworking space.” – HelloGiggles

Available Formats:

Print Book

The Last Tourist by  Olen Steinhauer

last touristIn Olen Steinhauer’s bestseller An American Spy, reluctant CIA agent Milo Weaver thought he had finally put “Tourists”—CIA-trained assassins—to bed.

A decade later, Milo is hiding out in Western Sahara when a young CIA analyst arrives to question him about a series of suspicious deaths and terrorist chatter linked to him.

Their conversation is soon interrupted by a new breed of Tourists intent on killing them both, forcing them to run.

As he tells his story, Milo is joined by colleagues and enemies from his long history in the world of intelligence, and the young analyst wonders what to believe. He wonders, too, if he’ll survive this interview.

After three standalone novels, Olen Steinhauer returns to the series that made him a bestseller.

Description from Goodreads.

“…stunning… The author does a masterly job of evoking dingy desert cities and the rarified air of Davos, Switzerland. Steinhauer reinforces his position at the top of the espionage genre.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the next appearance of Milo Weaver and his fellow tourists, you won’t be disappointed in this book. As with the best of his previous books, Steinhauer mixes high concept spy antics with family drama and the volatile political moment we seem to be living through in a lively and exciting manner.” – Spy Write

“Olen Steinhauer, who ranks with John le Carré and such other guaranteed masters of spy fiction, begins his new novel with a familiar piece of pulling the rug from under the reader’s feet… dizzying in an agreeable way.” – The Star

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


The Honey-Don’t List by  Christina Lauren ★

honey-don-t listCarey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

Description from Goodreads.

“Lauren (The Unhoneymooners) delivers a breezy, tongue-in-cheek rom-com as insightful as it is irreverent. Readers will laugh out loud.” – Publishers Weekly

“A toxic workplace nurtures an intoxicating romance in Lauren’s latest, supplying readers with all the drama and wit of the enemies-to-lovers trope. When a book has such great comic timing, it’s easy to finish the story in one sitting.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Fans will enjoy this charming romance.” – Library Journal

“[An] abosrbing romance.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | Playaway | eBook


The City We Became by  N.K. Jemisin ★

city we becameEvery city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

Description from Goodreads.

“N. K. Jemisin brings her reality-ripping storytelling skills to her own backyard of New York City in this vivid series starter… Paranormal battles on top of cabs, hidden subway stations, New York City politics, and local artists’ galleries thread through each other in a live-wire love letter to the city and its diverse denizens. While Jemisin has won awards with her previous novels, this one may be the most likely to win readers’ hearts as well.” – Amazon Book Review

“…stunning… Jemisin is doing something entirely original here… Jemisin doesn’t waste time on explanations or pleasantries. Her story is an unapologetically ferocious parable of modern race relations.” – Christian Science Monitor

“…a novel concerned with the pleasures and violences of urban life, so it makes sense that reading it feels a little like riding the subway for the first time. You barely have a moment to steady yourself — grab a seat, or at least a pole — before the world is lurching forward, dragging you into inky darkness, pulling you around corners at breathless speed… Jemisin brings all of her considerable skill and talent to bear on The City We Became, which is epic in ambition and scope… thrillingly expansive without ever becoming abstract or high-flown. Speeding through its pages feels like walking down a beloved city block: gloriously familiar and yet always shimmering with the promise of the unexpected.” – Los Angeles Times

“Jemisin writes a harsh love story to one of America’s most famous places. As raw and vibrant as the city itself, the prose pushes the boundaries of fantasy and brings home what residents already know—their city is alive.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook


The Return by  Rachel Harrison

returnWhen Julie reappears after two years missing with no memory of where she’s been, her best friend Elise and the others in their old college gang – Molly and Mae – decide to reunite at the kitschy Red Honey Inn.

But their joy at Julie’s return quickly dims. From her gaunt frame and her rotting teeth, to her appetite for meat after a lifelong aversion, Julie has changed beyond recognition. And when bad weather traps them inside, the dynamic among the friends becomes laced with anxiety. Everything in the hotel takes on a menacing quality: the scratching within the walls, the slither of shadows cast by nothing.

When it becomes impossible to deny that the Julie who vanished two years ago is not the same Julie who returned, Elise will have to decide if she wants to save their friendship or save herself.

Description from Goodreads.

“Hair-raising horror and pure entertainment… The tension and nuance of Harrison’s complicated female friendships add depth to an already delicious, chilling debut.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Harrison successfully sustains a low, visceral dread throughout that eventually builds to a shocking crescendo, and whispers of The Shining haunt the Red Honey Inn’s gloriously gaudy halls. Patient readers who appreciate a slow burn with an explosive payoff will be rewarded. This girls’ trip has teeth. A stylish and well-crafted horror debut.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The mystery of what happened to Julie builds throughout the story, leading to a climatic reveal. A well done debut novel.” – Red Carpet Crash

Available Formats:

Print Book


Tigers, Not Daughters by  Samantha Mabry

tigers not daughtersThe Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.
In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.

Description from Goodreads.

“Samantha Mabry gives us paranormal magical realism at its best with her latest YA novel.” – Ms.

“Mabry speaks gracefully to the transformative power of grief and the often messy (even violent) road to letting go.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Little Women meets The Virgin Suicides with a magical realist twist in this evocative and lovely novel… An engaging, heartfelt exploration of the multifaceted inner lives of teen girls and sisterhood.” – School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | Hoopla eBook


Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by  Anne Glenconner

lady in waitingAnne Glenconner has been at the center of the royal circle from childhood, when she met and befriended the future Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, the Princess Margaret. Though the firstborn child of the 5th Earl of Leicester, who controlled one of the largest estates in England, as a daughter she was deemed “the greatest disappointment” and unable to inherit. Since then she has needed all her resilience to survive court life with her sense of humor intact.

A unique witness to landmark moments in royal history, Maid of Honor at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, and a lady in waiting to Princess Margaret until her death in 2002, Anne’s life has encompassed extraordinary drama and tragedy. In Lady in Waiting, she will share many intimate royal stories from her time as Princess Margaret’s closest confidante as well as her own battle for survival: her broken-off first engagement on the basis of her “mad blood”; her 54-year marriage to the volatile, unfaithful Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner, who left his fortune to a former servant; the death in adulthood of two of her sons; a third son she nursed back from a six-month coma following a horrific motorcycle accident. Through it all, Anne has carried on, traveling the world with the royal family, including visiting the White House, and developing the Caribbean island of Mustique as a safe harbor for the rich and famous-hosting Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Raquel Welch, and many other politicians, aristocrats, and celebrities.

With unprecedented insight into the royal family, Lady in Waiting is a witty, candid, dramatic, at times heart-breaking personal story capturing life in a golden cage for a woman with no inheritance.

Description from Goodreads.

“A smart, dishy, and truly touching autobiography.” – Town & Country

“A startling, rare, beguiling insight into a lost world of royalty and celebrity with as many tears as there are titles… Anne’s story – a breath-taking array of top-drawer gossip–is told with an endearing modesty and with an extraordinary sense of surprise that all these things happened to her… The book is a diamond-mine of glittering asides.” – Daily Express

“Gentle, wise, unpretentious, but above all inspiring.” – The Times

Available Formats:

Print Book

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