Best New Books: Week of 5/26/2020

“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” – Nora Roberts



FICTION



All My Mother’s Lovers by  Ilana Masad ★

all my mother's loversIntimacy has always eluded twenty-seven-year-old Maggie Krause—despite being brought up by married parents, models of domestic bliss—until, that is, Lucia came into her life. But when Maggie’s mom, Iris, dies in a car crash, Maggie returns home only to discover a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and, along with Iris’s will, five sealed envelopes, each addressed to a mysterious man she’s never heard of.

In an effort to run from her own grief and discover the truth about Iris—who made no secret of her discomfort with her daughter’s sexuality—Maggie embarks on a road trip, determined to hand-deliver the letters and find out what these men meant to her mother. Maggie quickly discovers Iris’s second, hidden life, which shatters everything Maggie thought she knew about her parents’ perfect relationship. What is she supposed to tell her father and brother? And how can she deal with her own relationship when her whole world is in freefall?

Told over the course of a funeral and shiva, and written with enormous wit and warmth, All My Mother’s Lovers is the exciting debut novel from fiction writer and book critic Ilana Masad. A unique meditation on the universality and particularity of family ties and grief, and a tender and biting portrait of sex, gender, and identity, All My Mother’s Lovers challenges us to question the nature of fulfilling relationships.

Description from Goodreads.

“This probing, beautiful debut novel by Ilana Masad is an intimate meditation on grief, identity, love, and inheritance… [A] daughter’s journey to realizing her mother was also a woman, and a tender tribute to the power of forgiveness, understanding, and hope.” – Refinery29

“This remarkable portrait of a daughter’s opaque relationship with her mother reflects the strangeness and beauty of coming to see one’s parent fully as a human being.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“This book is on literally every anticipated book list for 2020 and for good reason.” – Paper

“A story of good but difficult characters and the openhearted people who love them, All My Mother’s Lovers is a compassionate and insightful work.” – BookPage

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



MYSTERY



Fair Warning by  Michael Connelly

fair warningVeteran reporter Jack McEvoy has taken down killers before, but when a woman he had a one-night stand with is murdered in a particularly brutal way, McEvoy realizes he might be facing a criminal mind unlike any he’s ever encountered.

McEvoy investigates—against the warnings of the police and his own editor—and makes a shocking discovery that connects the crime to other mysterious deaths across the country. But his inquiry hits a snag when he himself becomes a suspect. As he races to clear his name, McEvoy’s findings point to a serial killer working under the radar of law enforcement for years, and using personal data shared by the victims themselves to select and hunt his targets.

Called “the Raymond Chandler of this generation” (Associated Press), Michael Connelly once again delivers an unputdownable thriller that reveals a predator operating from the darkest corners of human nature—and one man courageous and determined enough to stand in his way.

Description from Goodreads.

“…briskly paced… should please fans as it fits well in Connelly’s oeuvre.” – South Florida Sun Sentinel

“…fast-paced… intriguing… very very addictive. It features clever and contemporary themes and crimes, and I appreciate that Connelly seems to respect the intelligence of his readers…” – Debbish

“Darkly essential reading for every genre fan who’s ever considered sending a swab to a mail-order DNA testing service.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



HISTORICAL FICTION



The Jane Austen Society by  Natalie Jenner

jane austen societyJust after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

Description from Goodreads.

“This novel delivers sweet, smart escapism.” – People

“Just like a story written by Austen herself, Jenner’s first novel is brimming with charming moments, endearing characters, and nuanced relationships… Readers won’t need previous knowledge of Austen and her novels to enjoy this tale’s slow revealing of secrets that build to a satisfying and dramatic ending.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Delightful… Jenner’s immersive character development is juxtaposed against her study of Austen’s characters, providing clever insight into how the trials of Austen’s life were revealed through her books.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



ROMANCE



Hideaway by  Nora Roberts

hideawayCaitlyn Sullivan, a daughter of Hollywood royalty, was already a star at ten, but still loved to play hide-and-seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.

Despite her glamorous background, Cate was a shrewd, scrappy survivor, and she managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the bruised and terrified girl huddled in his ranch house kitchen—but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge and comfort, reuniting her with her loved ones.

Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years away in Ireland, sheltered and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul. Then, finally, she returned to Los Angeles, hoping to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…

Description from Goodreads.

“Roberts once again offers a master class in storytelling as she displays her formidable ability to portray easily relatable characters and engineer a plot spiked with chilling suspense and layered with life affirming love, which, together, generate a captivating read.” – Booklist

An impactful drama… fans of Roberts’s intense contemporary tales will enjoy this high-stakes love story.” – Publishers Weekly

Hideaway is everything you want from the iconic Nora Roberts: suspense, vengeance, and of course, romance.” – PopSugar

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



NONFICTION



Hollywood Park: A Memoir by  Mikel Jollett

hollywood parkWe were never young. We were just too afraid of ourselves. No one told us who we were or what we were or where all our parents went. They would arrive like ghosts, visiting us for a morning, an afternoon. They would sit with us or walk around the grounds, to laugh or cry or toss us in the air while we screamed. Then they’d disappear again, for weeks, for months, for years, leaving us alone with our memories and dreams, our questions and confusion…

So begins Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir. His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults. Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s “School.” After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother. But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.

In his raw, poetic and powerful voice, Jollett portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty, trauma, emotional abuse, delinquency and the lure of drugs and alcohol. Raised by a clinically depressed mother, tormented by his angry older brother, subjected to the unpredictability of troubled step-fathers and longing for contact with his father, a former heroin addict and ex-con, Jollett slowly, often painfully, builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and, eventually, to finding his voice as a writer and musician.

Hollywood Park is told at first through the limited perspective of a child, and then broadens as Jollett begins to understand the world around him. Although Mikel Jollett’s story is filled with heartbreak, it is ultimately an unforgettable portrayal of love at its fiercest and most loyal.

Description from Goodreads.

“A Gen-X This Boy’s Life… Music and his fierce brilliance boost Jollett; a visceral urge to leave his background behind propels him to excel… In the end, Jollett shakes off the past to become the captain of his own soul. Hollywood Park is a triumph.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

“Jollett engagingly narrates his story… result[ing] in a shocking but contemplative memoir about the aftermath of an unhealthy upbringing.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A painstaking emotional accounting of a tortured youth ultimately redeemed through music, therapy, and love.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman by  Ilhan Omar with  Rebecca Paley

this is what america looks likeIlhan Omar was only eight years old when war broke out in Somalia. The youngest of seven children, her mother had died while Ilhan was still a little girl. She was being raised by her father and grandfather when armed gunmen attacked their compound and the family decided to flee Mogadishu. They ended up in a refugee camp in Kenya, where Ilhan says she came to understand the deep meaning of hunger and death. Four years later, after a painstaking vetting process, her family achieved refugee status and arrived in Arlington, Virginia.

Aged twelve, penniless, speaking only Somali and having missed out on years of schooling, Ilhan rolled up her sleeves, determined to find her American dream. Faced with the many challenges of being an immigrant and a refugee, she questioned stereotypes and built bridges with her classmates and in her community. In under two decades she became a grassroots organizer, graduated from college and was elected to congress with a record-breaking turnout by the people of Minnesota—ready to keep pushing boundaries and restore moral clarity in Washington D.C.

A beacon of positivity in dark times, Congresswoman Omar has weathered many political storms and yet maintained her signature grace, wit and love of country—all the while speaking up for her beliefs. Similarly, in chronicling her remarkable personal journey, Ilhan is both lyrical and unsentimental, and her irrepressible spirit, patriotism, friendship and faith are visible on every page. As a result, This is What America Looks Like is both the inspiring coming of age story of a refugee and a multidimensional tale of the hopes and aspirations, disappointments and failures, successes, sacrifices and surprises, of a devoted public servant with unshakable faith in the promise of America.

Description from Goodreads.

“Omar is by turns fierce, self-deprecating, and confident, and… has produced a smoothly readable narrative. No matter a reader’s personal politics, Omar’s life should serve as an inspiration.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“…a brisk and forthright recounting of her life story… Polished and frequently poignant, this memoir confirms Omar’s status as rising Democratic star.” – Publishers Weekly

“…the sense you get from reading Omar’s book is that if a better world is possible, she wants to be there to help us see it.” – Teen Vogue

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook

 

4 thoughts on “Best New Books: Week of 5/26/2020

  1. If you can get MADELINE MILLER author of CIRCE AND THE SONG OF ACHELLIES. That would be a winner! You will get scored of fans to watch !! She is from Philadelphia!

  2. Author. Lisa Wingate and Louise Penny, Lauren Groff, Donna Tartt, Daniel James Brown.
    Just a few unknown. Love the authors, especially Amor Towles.
    Thanks so much.

  3. I’d like to see James Patterson but he is so busy. Second choice Maxine Paetro or someone who coauthors books with Patterson. Or Baldacci would always be welcome. Joe R.

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