Somebody's Fool

Best New Books: Week of 7/25/23

“What if all everybody needed in the world was to be sure of one friend? What if you were the one, and you refused to say those simple words?” – Richard Russo, Empire Falls

Baking Yesteryear: Plating the Past with the Best Recipes from the 1900s to the 1980s by B. Dylan Hollis

nonfiction / food / cooking / history.

Baking YesteryearFriends of baking, are you sick and tired of making the same recipes again and again? Then look no further than this baking blast from the past, as B. Dylan Hollis highlights the most unique tasty treats of yesteryear.

Travel back in time on a delicious decade-by-decade jaunt as Dylan shows you how to bake vintage forgotten greats. With a big pinch of fun and a full cup of humor, you’ll be baking everything from Chocolate Potato Cake from the 1910s to Avocado Pie from the 1960s.

Dylan has baked hundreds of recipes from countless antique cookbooks and selected only the best for this bakebook, sharing the shining stars from each decade. And because some of the recipes Dylan shares on his wildly popular social media channels are spectacular failures, he’s thrown in a few of the most disastrously strange recipes for you to try if you dare.

A few of Dylan’s favorites that are going to have you licking your lips and begging for more
● 1900s Cornflake Macaroons
● 1910s ANZAC Biscuits
● 1930s Peanut Butter Bread
● 1940s Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake
● 1950s Tomato Soup Cake
● 1970s Potato Chip Cookies

Baking Yesteryear contains 101 expertly curated recipes that will take you on a delicious journey through the past. With a larger-than-life personality and comedic puns galore, baking with Dylan never gets old. We’ll leave that to the recipes.

“This is one of my most anticipated reads in cookbooks and in books as a whole.” – CJ Connor, Book Riot

Contradiction Days: An Artist on the Verge of Motherhood by JoAnna Novak

nonfiction / memoir / psychology.

Contradiction DaysFive months pregnant and struggling with a creative block, JoAnna Novak becomes obsessed with the enigmatic Abstract Expressionist painter Agnes Martin. She is drawn to the contradictions in Martin’s life as well as art—the soft and exacting brushstrokes she employs for grid-like compositions that are both rigid and dreamy. But what most calls to JoAnna is Martin’s dedication to her art in the face of paranoid schizophrenia.

Uneasy with the changes her pregnant body is undergoing, JoAnna relapses into damaging old habits and thought patterns. When she confides in her doctor that she’s struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, he tells her she must stop being so selfish, given she has a baby on the way, and start taking antidepressants. Appalled by his patronizing tone and disregard of her mental health history, JoAnna instead makes a deal with herself: she’ll surrender to her obsession with Agnes Martin and adopt the painter’s doctrine of joyful solitude and isolation; if she fails, she’ll comply and go on antidepressants.

JoAnna rents a house in Taos and gives herself three weeks to dedicate herself to Martin’s work and model her hermetic existence: phone off, email off, no talking to her husband, no touching the dog. Out of a deep, solitary engagement with a remarkable artist’s body of work emerges an entirely new way for her to relate to the contradictions of her own body and face up to the joys and challenges of impending motherhood.

“A lyric, searching account of compulsion, dedication, and artistic solitude… Novak’s writing is enchanting.” – Jamie Hood, Vulture

“…intense, often unexpectedly discursive, and most certainly always unflinching.” – Jonny Diamond, Literary Hub

“Many women will relate to Novak’s discomfort with her pregnant body and fears about the ways motherhood will change her as a person… this is a courageous and moving memoir of motherhood.” – Publishers Weekly

“Novak’s rhythmic prose is stunningly creative, clearly drawing on her poetic background… the story pulses with honesty and vulnerability, spiraling to a satisfying ending. A lyrical memoir about pregnancy, mental illness, and art.” – Kirkus Reviews

Dead Fall by Brad Thor

fiction / suspense / action.

Dead FallIn the war-ravaged borderlands of Ukraine, a Russian military unit has gone rogue. Its members, conscripted from the worst prisons and mental asylums across Russia, are the most criminally violent, psychologically dangerous combatants to ever set foot upon the modern battlefield.

With all attention focused on the frontlines, they have pushed deeper into the interior to wage a campaign of unspeakable barbarity. As they move from village to village, committing horrific war crimes, they meet little resistance as all able-bodied men are off fighting the war.

Simultaneously, a team of Russian mercenaries has been dispatched by the Kremlin to loot truckloads of art and priceless cultural treasures hidden away in a host of churches, museums, and private homes.

When multiple American aid workers are killed, America’s top spy is sent in to settle the score. But in a country almost the size of Texas, will Harvath be able to find the men in question and, more importantly, will he be able to stop them before they can kill again?

“Thor will leave you walking away wishing more than ever that Scot Harvath was a real person and someone the world could call on right now… Thor brings the fireworks like never before… the hottest thriller hitting bookstores this summer… and an easy contender for best book of 2023.” – Ryan Steck, The Real Book Spy

“[Brad Thor] changes the game in Dead Fall and ratchets the action and suspense to a new level. Longtime fans and new readers alike will have a hard time putting down this emotional, action-filled thriller…” – Joe Southern, Wharton Journal-Spectator

“The shootouts feel grounded and intense with the palpable anxiety of battling ambushes, crawling to avoid snipers, and of course Harvath being a pure badass as he effectively becomes a one-man army against Russian baddies… [a] definitive thriller pick…” – Kashif Hussain, The Best Thriller Books

Everyone Here Is Lying by Shari Lapena

fiction / suspense / mystery.

Everyone Here Is LyingWelcome to Stanhope! A safe neighborhood. A place for families.

William Wooler is a family man, on the surface. But he’s been having an affair, an affair that ended horribly this afternoon at a motel up the road. So when he returns to his house, devastated and angry, to find his difficult nine-year-old daughter, Avery, unexpectedly home from school, William loses his temper.

Hours later, Avery’s family declares her missing.

Suddenly Stanhope doesn’t feel so safe. And William isn’t the only one on his street who’s hiding a lie. As witnesses come forward with information that may or may not be true, Avery’s neighbors become increasingly unhinged.

Who took Avery Wooler?

“As usual, Lapena offers a clever, disturbing page-turner with deeply flawed characters and a stunning conclusion.” – Emily Melton, Booklist

“Shari Lapena has proved herself a master of twisty domestic thrillers, and her latest is no exception… You may think you have it figured out multiple times throughout the story, but the true final twist doesn’t come until the last page.” – Stephanie McNeal, Glamour

“The suspense here is real; Lapena does a great job of exposing layers of domestic dishonesty and betrayal one conversation at a time… Succeeds as a domestic thriller and procedural…” – Kirkus Reviews

The Gospel of the Hold Steady: How a Resurrection Really Feels by Michael Hann & The Hold Steady

nonfiction / biography / music.

The Gospel of the Hold SteadyOn January 22, 2003, four men stepped onto a stage in Brooklyn and did something no one else was doing at that time, in that place. They played rock ‘n’ roll: old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll with skyscraping riffs and sloppy solos, topped with extraordinary lyrics about an out-of-focus America, blurred by pills and powders, of crime and fear and desperation and redemption.

Twenty years later, The Hold Steady are one of America’s most beloved rock bands, famed for live shows that turn unbelievers into converts, and for a catalog filled with some of the most exciting yet poetic music of the twenty-first century. To mark those twenty years, The Hold Steady tell their full story in The Gospel of The Hold Steady: How a Resurrection Really Feels.

An oral history, based on interviews with everyone who has played in the band, and those who have worked with them over the course of their career, The Gospel of the Hold Steady addresses all the triumphs and setbacks of The Hold Steady’s career in the band’s own words―from high times to near deaths, from the brink of splitting to their current renaissance. The volume also includes over 200 photographs and images.

The Gospel of The Hold Steady is completed by essays about America’s greatest bar band by writers Rob Sheffield, Laura Barton, Isaac Fitzgerald, and Michael Hann, as well as the thoughts and memories of “The Unified Scene”―the fans who have helped define the band’s identity over the years. This is a book for everyone who loves The Hold Steady, and anyone who understands that the magic of rock ‘n’ roll happens on a stage in a small room, with voices raised from the crowd.

“A colorful montage of stories about and photographs of American rock band The Hold Steady… A must-have for admirers of the band and a good choice to fans of bar rock.” – Kirkus Reviews

“There’s a very short list of contemporary American songwriters who would also make wonderful short story writers and The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn is on it. As virtuosic chroniclers of a Midwestern demimonde that gives lie to the pervasive myth of the wholesome heartland, The Hold Steady has earned its place as one of the great American rock bands of the 21st century… A must-have for both Hold Steady diehards and rock and roll fans of all persuasions.” – Jonny Diamond, Literary Hub

Button Hoopla ReadButton Hoopla Listen

In the Case of Heartbreak by Courtney Kae

fiction / romance.

In the Case of HeartbreakBen has been baking his grandma’s cinnamon rolls at the family café for years. He’s been quietly in love with Adam Reed, his musician-slash-mechanic neighbor, for just as long. But Ben’s done waiting behind the pastry case. He’s entered a make-or-break competition to show off his own recipes. He’s going to buy his overprotective family out of the business. And he’s going to ask Adam out. TONIGHT.

Except his big plans get punched down before they even half-rise. Soon Ben is dashing down the coast to his grandma’s 80th birthday party on the beach, hiding his broken heart in Maywell Bay, California. Sun, sea, and fresh breezes should blow in something new—except they don’t. They blow in Adam Reed, grinning like a pirate and stealing the show as the musical entertainment hired by Grandma for her big bash. Grandma’s signature Heartbreak Tea is the only remedy, and Grandma’s tea could take the paint off a fence.

But there’s a burn of truth along with the booze in his bottle, and Ben has a decision to make. Can he take the sweetness in front of him, and brave the bitterness that comes after? Or is a little sea salt just what this cinnamon roll needs?

Salty cinnamon rolls? Ew. Ben would never.

“Replete with sexy banter and foreplay, this strikes a great balance of sultry and sweet.” – Publishers Weekly

“This beautifully written novel is filled with authentic characters and heartbreaking, realistic scenes, but it is not all deep feelings. Humorous scenes abound, and the dialogue is as witty as it is revealing… Fans of Casey McQuiston and Alexandria Bellefleur will fall in love with this small-town, friends-to-lovers romance.” – Heather Miller Cover, Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Button Hoopla ReadButton Hoopla Listen

The Last Ranger by Peter Heller

fiction / mystery / suspense.

The Last RangerRen is a park ranger, tasked with duties both mundane and thrilling: breaking up fights at campgrounds, saving tourists from moose attacks, and attempting to broker an uneasy peace between the wealthy vacationers who tromp around with cameras and the locals who want to carve out a meaningful living amid this western landscape.

When Ren discovers his friend Hilly, a biologist and wolf expert, nearly dead in the steel jaws of a wolf trap, he hopes it’s just an accident, but the small red ribbon tied to the stake makes him fairly certain that it wasn’t. What begins as an inquiry into a known poacher soon opens into the discovery of a local group of ranchers who have formed an alliance at odds with both the park and with Ren’s responsibility to protect it.

Rife with surprising humor, populated by a cast of extraordinary characters, each drawn to Yellowstone for their own reasons, Peter Heller once again mines the rich vein where our very human impulses play out against the stunning beauty of the natural world.

“…immersive… Fans of fiction about the outdoors are well served.” – Publishers Weekly

“[A] fast-paced, elegantly written slice of the often busy, sometimes-perilous life of a contemporary Yellowstone National Park ranger… Life and death in nature are close companions in a fast-moving and lyrical story.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The rugged nature of Yellowstone permeates every page of the latest outdoors adventure from Heller, a tale populated with lyrically defined characters. Some seem to have stepped out of Louis L’Amour’s books… This is wilderness noir at its best, a novel that will please fans of C. J. Box, Craig Johnson, and the legions of admirers of the television series, Yellowstone.” – Jane Murphy, Booklist

Light Bringer by Pierce Brown

fiction / science fiction / fantasy.

Light Bringer“The measure of a man is not the fear he sows in his enemies. It is the hope he gives his friends.” – Virginia au Augustus

The Reaper is a legend, more myth than man: the savior of worlds, the leader of the Rising, the breaker of chains.

But the Reaper is also Darrow, born of the red soil of Mars: a husband, a father, a friend.

The worlds once needed the Reaper. But now they need Darrow. Because after the dark age will come a new age: of light, of victory, of hope.

“The new, breakneck installment of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series is here… and it’s one you won’t be able to put down.” – Brittany Bunzey, Barnes & Noble

“The mesh of intrigue, politics, war, daring rescues, and staggering losses keeps the sixth entry in Brown’s long-running Red Rising moving at a fast clip. Die-hard fans will be engrossed and eager for the final showdown.” – Kristine Huntley, Booklist

Light Bringer combines Brown’s trademark character work and action sequences with the grimness of Dark Age, and the hopefulness of the original trilogy, to create a truly unique entry in the Red Rising saga.” – David S., FanFiAddict

One of Us Is Back by Karen M. McManus

fiction / young adult / mystery / suspense.

One of Us is BackEver since Simon died in detention, life hasn’t been easy for the Bayview Crew. First the Bayview Four had to prove they weren’t killers. Then a new generation had to outwit a vengeful copycat. Now, it’s beginning again.

At first the mysterious billboard seems like a bad joke: Time for a new game, Bayview. But when a member of the crew disappears, it’s clear this ‘game’ just got serious – and no one understands the rules.

Everyone’s a target. And now that someone unexpected has returned to Bayview, things are starting to get deadly.

Simon was right about secrets – they all come out in the end. And Bayview has a lot it’s still hiding.

“A satisfying and hopeful closer in a masterful trilogy.” – Kirkus Reviews

“McManus keeps the cinematic plotting tight with plenty of twists, red herrings, and long-buried secrets… Another solid thriller from a master of the genre.” – Sarah Hunter, Booklist

“[An] electrifying mystery… Bombshell reveals unfurl alongside reflections on honesty, empathy, and cycles of violence, resulting in a soulful, high-stakes thrill ride.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

The Possibilities by Yael Goldstein-Love

fiction / suspense / science fiction / fantasy.

The PossibilitiesWhat if the life you didn’t live was as real as the one you did?

Hannah is having a bad day. A bad month. A bad year? That feels terrible to admit, since her son Jack was born just eight months ago and she loves him more than anything. But ever since his harrowing birth, she can’t shake the feeling that it could have gone the other way. That her baby might not have made it. Terrifying visions of the different paths her life could have taken begin to disrupt her cozy, claustrophobic days with Jack, destabilizing her marriage and making her husband concerned for her mental health. Are the strange things Hannah is seeing just new-mom anxiety, or is something truly weird and sinister afoot? What if Hannah really did unlock a dark force during childbirth?

When Hannah’s worst nightmare comes true and Jack disappears from his crib, she must tap into an extraordinary ability she never knew she had in order to save him: She must enter different versions of her life while holding on to what is most important to her in this one to bring her child back home.

From the intimate joys of parenthood to the cosmic awe of the multiverse, The Possibilities is an ingenious and wildly suspenseful novel that stares down into the dizzying depths of maternal love, vulnerability, and strength.

“An original take on motherhood, The Possibilities taps into those primal feelings every nurturer feels—and fears.” – Zibby Owens, Good Morning America

“Goldstein-Love’s game of hopscotch through the multiverse works both as a smart sci-fi thriller and as a metaphor for the worry, exhaustion, and power inherent in motherhood… This memorable, stirring work of suspense is primed to become a sensation in book club circles.” – Jaclyn Fulwood, Shelf Awareness

“The author, a psychotherapist herself, has orchestrated quite a mashup of genres, to page-turning effect. Part thriller, part psychology, part quantum physics—all fun.” – Kirkus Reviews

Prom Mom by Laura Lippman 

fiction / mystery / suspense.

Prom MomAmber Glass has spent her entire adult life putting as much distance as possible between her and her hometown of Baltimore, where she fears she will forever be known as “Prom Mom”–the girl who allegedly killed her baby on the night of the prom after her date, Joe Simpson, abandoned her to pursue the girl he really liked. But when circumstances bring Amber back to the city, she realizes she can have a second chance–as long as she stays away from Joe, now a successful commercial real estate developer, married to a plastic surgeon, Meredith, to whom he is devoted.

The problem is, Amber can’t stay away from Joe. And Joe finds that it’s increasingly hard for him to ignore Amber, if only because she remembers the boy he was and the man he said he was going to be. Against the surreal backdrop of 2020 and early 2021, the two are slowly drawn to each other and eventually cross the line they’ve been trying not to cross.

And then Joe asks Amber to help him do the unthinkable…

“…gripping… Lippman works up a slow burn, gently teasing out a game of cat and mouse between Joe and Amber that comes into full focus toward the end of the novel. Readers who persevere will reach a devilishly satisfying conclusion.” – Publishers Weekly

“A character study of pedestrian evil in the Wegmans-and-Peloton class, fascinating in its heartlessness.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A cast of extremely self-absorbed characters drive the ominous narrative, which becomes even more fraught with anxiety when Lippman masterfully brings the COVID-19 shutdown into the plot. The head-spinning conclusion will not disappoint… Absolutely brilliant.” – Jane Murphy, Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“This exquisitely crafted tale of triangulation and treachery builds slowly to a shocking ending. It’s a future COVID classic that pairs well with Lippman’s long-form essay ‘The Summer of Fall’ and other love and revenge stories such as those in her 2021 collection Seasonal Work.” – Liz French, Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Rana Joon and the One and Only Now by Shideh Etaat

fiction / young adult.

Rana Joon and the One and Only NowPerfect Iranian girls are straight A students, always polite, and grow up to marry respectable Iranian boys. But it’s the San Fernando Valley in 1996, and Rana Joon is far from perfect—she smokes weed and loves Tupac, and she has a secret: she likes girls.

As if that weren’t enough, her best friend, Louie—the one who knew her secret and encouraged her to live in the moment—died almost a year ago, and she’s still having trouble processing her grief. To honor him, Rana enters the rap battle he dreamed of competing in, even though she’s terrified of public speaking.

But the clock is ticking. With the battle getting closer every day, she can’t decide whether to use one of Louie’s pieces or her own poetry, her family is coming apart, and she might even be falling in love. To get herself to the stage and fulfill her promise before her senior year ends, Rana will have to learn to speak her truth and live in the one and only now.

“[A] vivacious debut… Through Rana’s magnetic POV and striking poetry, Etaat conveys Rana’s anger, desire, and grief, making for a lively and thought-provoking exploration of self-love and self-discovery” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Rana is an engaging lead with a satisfying journey of self-growth… [a] lyrical read. Emotionally honest and open.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Through excerpts of Rana’s poetry, we see how her bold exterior masks the breadth of her pain. The end isn’t tidy or certain, but it offers hope as Rana sees the value in her voice and its demand for truth.” – Mahjabeen Syed, Booklist

Somebody’s Fool by Richard Russo


Somebody's FoolTen years after the death of the magnetic Donald “Sully” Sullivan, the town of North Bath is going through a major transition as it is annexed by its much wealthier neighbor, Schuyler Springs. Peter, Sully’s son, is still grappling with his father’s tremendous legacy as well as his relationship to his own son, Thomas, wondering if he has been all that different a father than Sully was to him.

Meanwhile, the towns’ newly consolidated police department falls into the hands of Charice Bond, after the resignation of Doug Raymer, the former North Bath police chief and Charice’s ex-lover. When a decomposing body turns up in the abandoned hotel situated between the two towns, Charice and Raymer are drawn together again and forced to address their complicated attraction to one another. Across town, Ruth, Sully’s married ex-lover, and her daughter Janey struggle to understand Janey’s daughter, Tina, and her growing obsession with Peter’s other son, Will. Amidst the turmoil, the town’s residents speculate on the identity of the unidentified body, and wonder who among their number could have disappeared unnoticed.

Infused with all the wry humor and shrewd observations that Russo is known for, Somebody’s Fool is another classic from a modern master.

“With wry wit, Russo spins a tale of small town life and the many ways humans form connections with one another.” – Time

“Back to North Bath, New York, for a third round of misadventures, tomfoolery, and personal growth… Russo’s version of the good old-fashioned comic novel is the gold standard, full of heart and dexterous storytelling.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] wise and witty drama of small-town life… deliver[s] the generous humor, keen ear for dialogue, and deep appreciation for humanity’s foibles that have endeared the author to his readers for decades.” – Publishers Weekly

“Russo’s beguiling art is the mastery of cloaking complex human emotions and conflicts in surprisingly simple guises, and he brings depths of pathos and wisdom to this Everyman microcosm by challenging its citizens in unlikely ways, only to have them emerge whole and even heroic. There have never been fools in Russo’s world, just lovely, relatable people navigating foolish situations.” – Carol Haggas, Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Their Vicious Games by Joelle Wellington

fiction / young adult / suspense / mystery.

Their Vicious GamesYou must work twice as hard to get half as much.

Adina Walker has known this the entire time she’s been on scholarship at the prestigious Edgewater Academy—a school for the rich (and mostly white) upper class of New England. It’s why she works so hard to be perfect and above reproach, no matter what she must force beneath the surface. Even one slip can cost you everything.

And it does. One fight, one moment of lost control, leaves Adina blacklisted from her top choice Ivy League college and any other. Her only chance to regain the future she’s sacrificed everything for is the Finish, a high-stakes contest sponsored by Edgewater’s founding family in which twelve young, ambitious women with exceptional promise are selected to compete in three mysterious events: the Ride, the Raid, and the Royale. The winner will be granted entry into the fold of the Remington family, whose wealth and power can open any door.

But when she arrives at the Finish, Adina quickly gets the feeling that something isn’t quite right with both the Remingtons and her competition, and soon it becomes clear that this larger-than-life prize can only come at an even greater cost. Because the Finish’s stakes aren’t just make or break… they’re life and death.

Adina knows the deck is stacked against her—it always has been—so maybe the only way to survive their vicious games is for her to change the rules.

“Wellington doesn’t hold back in this explosive debut novel… will keep readers breathless… Anyone desperate for a Hunger Games–esque adventure will devour this debut.” – Amber Hayes, Booklist

“…heart-stopping… A twisty chronicle, filled with equal parts glory and gore, of an outlier who transforms into a modern ‘final girl.’” – Kirkus Reviews

“…through Gossip Girl–inspired drama that interrogates the ability of power and privilege to corrupt, debut author Wellington delivers a spine-chilling thriller.” – Publishers Weekly

The Woman in the Castello by Kelsey James

fiction / historical fiction / mystery / suspense.

The Woman in the CastelloRome, 1965: Aspiring actress Silvia Whitford arrives at Rome’s famed Cinecittà Studios from Los Angeles, ready for her big break and a taste of la dolce vita. Instead, she learns that the movie in which she was cast has been canceled. Desperate for money, Silvia has only one choice: seek out the Italian aunt she has never met.

Gabriella Conti lives in a crumbling castello on the edge of a volcanic lake. Silvia’s mother refuses to explain the rift that drove the sisters apart, but Silvia is fascinated by Gabriella, a once-famous actress who still radiates charisma. And the eerie castle inspires Silvia’s second chance when it becomes the location for a new horror movie, aptly named The Revenge of the Lake Witch—and she lands a starring role.

Silvia immerses herself in the part of an ingenue tormented by the ghost of her beautiful, seductive ancestor. But when Gabriella abruptly vanishes, the movie’s make-believe terrors seep into reality. No one else on set seems to share Silvia’s suspicions. Yet as she delves into Gabriella’s disappearance, she triggers a chain of events that illuminate dark secrets in the past—and a growing menace in the present…

“[A] tautly written novel…” – Jennifer Winberry, Library Reads

“Vividly written, boldly suspenseful, and gorgeously set in an Italian castle, this is the perfect book to take on holiday! Let this book sweep you away into 1960s Italy with its swirling mystery full of family history, secrets, and drama.” – Ashleigh Howland, Indie Next

Button Hoopla ReadButton Hoopla Listen


Curious how these lists are put together? CLICK HERE!

NOTE: The library does not receive any compensation for links TO OTHER SITES.

Leave a Reply