Best New Books: Week of 4/28/2020

“In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.” – John Grisham


Camino Winds by  John Grisham

camino windsWelcome back to Camino Island, where anything can happen—even a murder in the midst of a hurricane, which might prove to be the perfect crime…

Just as Bruce Cable’s Bay Books is preparing for the return of bestselling author Mercer Mann, Hurricane Leo veers from its predicted course and heads straight for the island. Florida’s governor orders a mandatory evacuation, and most residents board up their houses and flee to the mainland, but Bruce decides to stay and ride out the storm.

The hurricane is devastating: homes and condos are leveled, hotels and storefronts ruined, streets flooded, and a dozen people lose their lives. One of the apparent victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce’s and an author of thrillers. But the nature of Nelson’s injuries suggests that the storm wasn’t the cause of his death: He has suffered several suspicious blows to the head.

Who would want Nelson dead? The local police are overwhelmed in the aftermath of the storm and ill equipped to handle the case. Bruce begins to wonder if the shady characters in Nelson’s novels might be more real than fictional. And somewhere on Nelson’s computer is the manuscript of his new novel. Could the key to the case be right there—in black and white? As Bruce starts to investigate, what he discovers between the lines is more shocking than any of Nelson’s plot twists—and far more dangerous.

Description from Goodreads.

“…exciting… Grisham peoples the intriguing, elaborate plot with a winsome ensemble of distinguished authors and booklovers. Readers will hope to return soon to this appealing vacation hot spot.” – Publishers Weekly

“A pleasure for Grisham fans and an undemanding addition to the beach bag.” – Kirkus Reviews

Camino Winds is an irresistible romp and a perfectly thrilling beach read…” – No1GeekFun

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

Sea Wife by  Amity Gaige

sea wifeJuliet is failing to juggle motherhood and her stalled-out dissertation on confessional poetry when her husband, Michael, informs her that he wants to leave his job and buy a sailboat. With their two kids—Sybil, age seven, and George, age two—Juliet and Michael set off for Panama, where their forty-four foot sailboat awaits them.

The initial result is transformative; the marriage is given a gust of energy, Juliet emerges from her depression, and the children quickly embrace the joys of being feral children at sea. Despite the stresses of being novice sailors, the family learns to crew the boat together on the ever-changing sea. The vast horizons and isolated islands offer Juliet and Michael reprieve – until they are tested by the unforeseen.

Sea Wife is told in gripping dual perspectives: Juliet’s first person narration, after the journey, as she struggles to come to terms with the life-changing events that unfolded at sea, and Michael’s captain’s log, which provides a riveting, slow-motion account of these same inexorable events, a dialogue that reveals the fault lines created by personal history and political divisions.

Sea Wife is a transporting novel about marriage, family and love in a time of unprecedented turmoil. It is unforgettable in its power and astonishingly perceptive in its portrayal of optimism, disillusionment, and survival.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] splendid, wrenching novel… Every element of this impressive novel clicks into a dazzling, heartbreaking whole.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Gripping… A powerful take on a marriage on the rocks.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Gaige here fractures a single, suspenseful plot into multiple parts. In Sea Wife, she cuts between two first-person narratives, each amplifying and complicating the other… Cutting between storylines generates narrative suspense… It also allows for the interplay of two distinct voices and sensibilities… The novel deftly grafts narrative mystery—what happened on that boat? What painful childhood memory is Juliet avoiding?—onto a sharp examination of domesticity… Gaige is a superb maritime writer. She writes beautifully about water and sky… she makes sailing seem both an existential drama (when a storm hits, it’s like Lear on the heath) and a complex technical enterprise… Americans dream of endless reinvention. Sea Wife shows the impossibility of such a dream…” – Boston Globe

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

Little Family by  Ishmael Beah

little familyHidden away from a harsh outside world, five young people have improvised a home in an abandoned airplane, a relic of their country’s chaos. Elimane, the bookworm, is as street-smart as he is wise. Clever Khoudiemata maneuvers to keep the younger kids—athletic, pragmatic Ndevui; thoughtful Kpindi; and especially their newest member, Namsa—safe and fed. When Elimane makes himself of service to the shadowy William Handkerchief, it seems as if the little family may be able to keep the world at bay and their household intact. But when Khoudi comes under the spell of the “beautiful people”—the fortunate sons and daughters of the powerful—the desire to resume an interrupted coming of age and follow her own destiny proves impossible to resist.

A profound and tender portrayal of the connections we forge to survive the fate we’re dealt, Little Family marks the further blossoming of a unique global voice.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] vibrant outing… Beah informs his characters’ blend of street savvy and naïveté with bursts of details… Fans of African postcolonial fiction are in for a treat.” – Publishers Weekly

“Unflinching and unadorned, Beah’s novel provides an indelible portrait of desperate survival.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Beah portrays his characters with exquisite tenderness, imbuing them with a grace that belies their wretched situation… In a work less harrowing but no less effective than Radiance of Tomorrow, Beah continues to speak eloquently to the impact of colonialism on generations of African children for whom freedom is merely an illusion.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Take Me Apart by  Sara Sligar ★

take me apartWhen the famed photographer Miranda Brand died mysteriously at the height of her career, it sent shock waves through Callinas, California. Decades later, old wounds are reopened when her son, Theo, hires ex-journalist Kate Aitken to create an archive of his mother’s work.

From Miranda’s vast maze of personal effects, Kate pieces together a portrait of a vibrant artist buckling under the pressures of ambition, motherhood, and marriage. As the summer progresses, Kate navigates vicious local rumors and her growing attraction to the enigmatic Theo, all while unearthing the shocking details of Miranda’s private life. But Kate has secrets of her own, and when she stumbles across a diary that may finally resolve the mystery of Miranda’s death, her curiosity starts to spiral into a dangerous obsession.

With breathtaking and haunting imagery, Take Me Apart paints a vivid picture of two magnetic young women, separated by years, but bonded by shared struggles. Sara Sligar draws readers into a web of secrets and lies, alternating between the present and the past and revealing the truth about Miranda’s death through the objects she left behind.

Description from Goodreads.

“Kate and Miranda are vividly rendered, and an entire novel could easily be crafted out of Miranda’s fascinating diary, letters, and other ephemera, snippets of which are sprinkled liberally throughout. Sligar delivers an intriguing mystery while tackling big themes, especially sexism and the societal restraints placed on women’s bodies and minds. The results are spellbinding. A raw and sophisticated debut.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“This story of gaslighting, high art, intergenerational trauma, and archival work, among many other things, is propulsive in its telling and fascinating in its composition.” – CrimeReads

“A perceptive debut… Alternating between chapters focusing on Kate and epistolary documents by the tormented Miranda, Sligar reveals Miranda’s unraveling throughout her brilliant career as she labors with parenthood and life with a manipulative husband… Sligar shows off a keen ear for dialogue… With a cool style and fast pace, Sligar achieves a propulsive exploration of these ambitious women’s inner turbulence in response to an abusive man in each of their lives.” – Publishers Weekly

“Sligar handles her intricately structured story’s threads with delicacy in this impressive, suspenseful debut.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

The End of October by  Lawrence Wright

end of octoberAt an internment camp in Indonesia, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When Henry Parsons–microbiologist, epidemiologist–travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca.

Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi prince and doctor in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city… A Russian émigré, a woman who has risen to deputy director of U.S. Homeland Security, scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare… already-fraying global relations begin to snap, one by one, in the face of a pandemic… Henry’s wife Jill and their children face diminishing odds of survival in Atlanta… and the disease slashes across the United States, dismantling institutions–scientific, religious, governmental–and decimating the population. As packed with suspense as it is with the fascinating history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller.

Description from Goodreads.

“This timely literary page-turner shows Wright is on a par with the best writers in the genre.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“An eerily prescient novel about a devastating virus that begins in Asia before going global… A page-turner that has the earmarks of an instant bestseller.” – New York Post

“Featuring accounts of past plagues and pandemics, descriptions of pathogens and how they work, and dark notes about global warming, the book produces deep shudders… A disturbing, eerily timed novel.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


The Rakess by  Scarlett Peckham

rakessShe’s a Rakess on a quest for women’s rights…

Seraphina Arden’s passions include equality, amorous affairs, and wild, wine-soaked nights. To raise funds for her cause, she’s set to publish explosive memoirs exposing the powerful man who ruined her. Her ideals are her purpose, her friends are her family, and her paramours are forbidden to linger in the morning.

He’s not looking for a summer lover…

Adam Anderson is a wholesome, handsome, widowed Scottish architect, with two young children, a business to protect, and an aversion to scandal. He could never, ever afford to fall for Seraphina. But her indecent proposal—one month, no strings, no future—proves too tempting for a man who strains to keep his passions buried with the losses of his past.

But one night changes everything…

What began as a fling soon forces them to confront painful secrets—and yearnings they thought they’d never have again. But when Seraphina discovers Adam’s future depends on the man she’s about to destroy, she must decide what to protect… her desire for justice, or her heart.

Description from Goodreads.

“Peckham deserves high praise for bravely creating a darker historical romance, confronting tough subjects such as addiction, gender inequality, miscarriage, and involuntary commitment… Highly recommended for those unafraid of a grittier love story.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“This is the first book in Peckham’s new Society of Sirens series, and like its heroine, it is thrillingly complex and suspenseful. Peckham’s previously established talent for creating strong-willed heroines and heroes who respect them shines here along with her knack for creatively spicy scenes of intimacy. Given how well each member of the Society of Sirens is developed in this volume, readers will be anxious to read the next installment. A compelling historical romance from one of the genre’s rising stars.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“The open, exploratory love scenes sizzle with passion balanced by frank conversations about contraception and the risks of pregnancy. Peckham never shies away from the bleak realities facing women of the era while capably making 19th-century sexual politics feel relevant to today. This rewarding love story is fierce, feminist, and full of feeling.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Hoopla eAudiobook


Don’t Call the Wolf by  Aleksandra Ross

don't call the wolfWhen the Golden Dragon descended on the forest of Kamiena, a horde of monsters followed in its wake.

Ren, the forest’s young queen, is slowly losing her battle against them. Until she rescues Lukasz—the last survivor of a heroic regiment of dragon slayers—and they strike a deal. She will help him find his brother, who vanished into her forest… if Lukasz promises to slay the Dragon.

But promises are all too easily broken.

Description from Goodreads.

“Teeming with mystical creatures and lurking dangers… A page-turner.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Ross delivers a fierce, fully fleshed heroine and a richly textured fantasy with a kind heart.” – Publishers Weekly

“In a genre full of retellings, this book sets itself apart with its homage to traditional storytelling.” – School Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Warhol by  Blake Gopnik ★

warholWhen critics attacked Andy Warhol’s Marilyn paintings as shallow, the Pop artist was happy to present himself as shallower still: He claimed that he silkscreened to avoid the hard work of painting, although he was actually a meticulous workaholic; in interviews he presented himself as a silly naïf when in private he was the canniest of sophisticates. Blake Gopnik’s definitive biography digs deep into the contradictions and radical genius that led Andy Warhol to revolutionize our cultural world.

Based on years of archival research and on interviews with hundreds of Warhol’s surviving friends, lovers and enemies, Warhol traces the artist’s path from his origins as the impoverished son of Eastern European immigrants in 1930s Pittsburgh, through his early success as a commercial illustrator and his groundbreaking pivot into fine art, to the society portraiture and popular celebrity of the ’70s and ’80s, as he reflected and responded to the changing dynamics of commerce and culture.

Warhol sought out all the most glamorous figures of his times – Susan Sontag, Mick Jagger, the Barons de Rothschild – despite being burdened with an almost crippling shyness. Behind the public glitter of the artist’s Factory, with its superstars, drag queens and socialites, there was a man who lived with his mother for much of his life and guarded the privacy of his home. He overcame the vicious homophobia of his youth to become a symbol of gay achievement, while always seeking the pleasures of traditional romance and coupledom. (Warhol explodes the myth of his asexuality.)

Filled with new insights into the artist’s work and personality, Warhol asks: Was he a joke or a genius, a radical or a social climber? As Warhol himself would have answered: Yes.

Description from Goodreads.

“…superb… This mesmerizing book… is as much art history and philosophy as it is biography.” – The Guardian

“[An] impressive, sweeping biography of the artist.” – Washington Post

“A fascinating, major work that will spark endless debates.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“…detailed, enthusiastic and absorbing…” – Wall Street Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Leave a Reply