Thursday, August 01, 2013

September Treasures in My Closet

I don't know when I've had so many books in my treasure pile for one month. We're all in for a wealth of reading in September. I can't wait to share these titles with you.

Albert A. Bell takes readers back to the Roman Empire in the first century A.D. in his mystery Death in the Ashes. Pliny the Younger goes on the road with his friend, historian Tacitus, to the Bay of Naples soon after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. There Pliny must help a friend who won't defend himself against a murder charge.

Agatha Award-winning author Susan M. Boyer brings back Liz Talbot in Lowcountry Bombshell. Liz
Talbot thinks she's seen a ghost when she meets Calista McQueen, the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe. Born precisely fifty years after the ill-fated star, Calista's life has eerily mirrored the late starlet's. Now, Calista fears the looming anniversary of Marilyn's death will also be hers. It's up to Liz to uncover a diabolical murder plot in time to save not only Calista's life, but also her own.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is Anya Von Bremzen's "Memoir of Food and Longing". When she was ten, Anya and her mother fled the political repression of Russia, arriving in Philadelphia. To make sense of her past, the celebrated food writer and her mother decided to eat and cook their way through seven decades of the Soviet experience. Now, through those meals, Anya tells the story of three generations.

Rhidian Brook's novel, The Aftermath, looks back at the year following the end of World War II. The man charged with overseeing the rebuilding of Hamburg insists that his family live with his German host family, forcing the two families to confront their true feelings in a novel of love grown from hate, and the transforming power of forgiveness.

I can already tell you that Diane Chamberlain's Necessary Lies is a powerful story of the rural South in 1960, as one woman struggles with her role as a social worker, trying to save a young woman from the system that could destroy her dreams and her life forever. Don't miss this one.

Janet Dawson brings us a historical standalone mystery, Death Rides the Zephyr. It's December 1952, and the luxurious train, the California Zephyr, heads east with a full load of passengers going home for Christmas. Jill McLeod is a Zephyrette, a hostess on the train. Although she hopes the trip will be uneventful, she discovers that crime is riding the rails.

Three women are mysteriously connected and forever changed in Dianne Dixon's The Book of Someday. Livvi Gray has been tormented by a nightmare since she was a little girl, the image of an eerily beautiful woman in a shimmering silver dress. Just before her thirtieth birthday, she will come face to face with this stranger, a meeting that will change Livvi's future, but also make her doubt her past. The story is told in parallel with that of a brilliant Boston photographer and that of a Long Island wife and mother. The three women are linked by an unforgettable mystery and a web of secrets.

Sheri Fink won the Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans during Katrina. Now, she tells the story of life and death in that storm-ravaged hospital in Five Days at Memorial, revealing how ill-prepared Americans are for the impact of large-scale disasters.

Cain's Blood is Geoffrey Girard's debut thriller. The U.S. Department of Defense uses the DNA of the world's most notorious serial killers such as Ted Bundy to develop a new breed of bioweapons. Now in Phase Three, the program contains dozens of young men who have no clues  of their evil heritage. However, when the most dangerous boys are set free by their creator, it's up to a former black ops solder to track them down, with a surprising ally, a boy who just learned he is the clone of a killer.

If you love Southern stories, you might want to try Susan Gregg Gilmore's The Funeral Dress. In a
moving story exploring Southern spirit and camaraderie among working women, a young single mother will compel a town to become a community when she decides to make the burying dress for a woman who takes her under her wing at the local shirt factory.

Matt Greene's debut novel, Ostrich, is a coming-of-age novel that has been compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.Twelve-year-old Alex has all the typical adolescent problems. But, after his brain surgery, everyone, even his pet hamster, seems to be performing suspiciously. With the help of a female classmate, Watson to his Holmes, Alex looks for answers.

In The Return, Michael Gruber, the bestselling author of The Book of Air and Shadows, tells the story of one man's fearless quest for revenge among some of the world's most dangerous criminals. It's the story that sets two Vietnam vets on the road, heading toward "an apocalypse of their own making."

Strange Bird is the first book in Anna Jansson's popular Maria Wern police detective series to be translated into English. In this novel, primal fear and panic drive the inhabitants of the picturesque island of Gotland to extremes as they face a vicious strain of bird flu. The fast paced thriller features a strong female protagonist and raises serious ethical and moral questions.

If you remember the heyday of Gothics, you might want to pick up Cassandra King's Moonrise. When Helen Honeycutt falls in love with a man who has recently lost his wife in a tragic accident, their sudden marriage creates a rift between her new husband and his friends who resent her intrusion into their close circle. When the newlyweds join the group for a summer at Moonrise, his late wife's family home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it soon becomes clear that someone is trying to drive her away.

Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland is the story of two brothers who are inseparable as children. But, their destines in Calcutta are opposite, tragically so.  One brother is drawn into a rebellion spreading through India. When his brother learns what happened to his brother, he returns from America to pick up the pieces of his shattered family and heal the wounds his brother left behind.

I don't know if the translation of Pierre Lemaitre's Alex is actually for me. It's been called "harsh, fierce crime writing". By the publishers of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, it's the story of a kidnapped, beaten girl whose abductor appears to want to watch her die. Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven has nothing to go on, but he comes to realize she is no ordinary victim.

Jonathan Lethem's Dissident Gardens is the epic saga about three generations of all-American radicals in a story that extends from the communism of the '30s, McCarthysim, the civil rights movement, '70s communes, the Sandinistas, up to the Occupy movement as two women and their families struggle to follow their own utopian dreams.

In her latest novel, The Fountain of St. James Court or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman, Sena Jeter Naslund explores the transformative power of art, history, and love in the lives of creative women. It's a story that weaves together the tales of two one, one a fictional contemporary writer, the other, a renowned historic painter. Both women's creative lives have been forged in the crucibles of family, friends, social mores, and community.

Carla Norton debuts with a thriller, The Edge of Normal. Reeve LeClaire appears to be a typical twenty-two-year old. However, ten years earlier, she was kidnapped and held captive for four years. After a lucky escape, she's tried to rebuild her life for six years, with help from her therapist. Then, Dr. Lerner asks her to help Tilly, another girl rescued from a similar ordeal, and Reeve realizes there is a predator out there watching Tilly.

I've heard great things from other librarians about Rainbow Rowell's latest novel, Fangirl. It's a coming-of-age story about fanfiction, family, and first love. Cath doesn't think she's good at life, but really good at being a fan who writes fanfiction, and she's kind of famous in that world. Now that she's in college, she has to decide if she'll stay in her fictional world, or try to live her own life and write her own story.

I'm looking forward to Hank Phillippi Ryan's The Wrong Girl. Once again, Boston investigative reporter Jane Ryland teams up with Detective Jake Brogan as they follow a trail into the heart of a foster care system in crisis, an adoption agency scandal, while Jake searches for the killer of a young woman.

The Beginning of Everything is a a novel that was promoted at Book Expo America. Robyn Schneider tells Ezra Faulkner's story. He was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before - before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with new girl Cassidy Thorpe.

Jeffrey Siger does for Greece what the late Leighton Gage did for Brazil. He brings it alive through his detective, Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis.In Mykonos After Midnight, the death of a legendary nightclub owner, Kaldis vows to find the solution to the murder, something more complex than robbery. His investigation puts him in opposition to a powerful, clandestine international force determined to take control of the changing island of Mykonos as it transforms from an impoverished Aegean island into a playground for the world's rich.

I said to author Denise Swanson, "You killed off a librarian!" Yes, she does in Murder of a Stacked Librarian, the latest in her Scumble River series. It's Scumble River at Christmastime when school psychologist Skye Denison juggles holiday frenzy and her wedding preparations. But, the groom, police chief Wally Boyd, might be too busy to attend. The town's sexy new librarian has been murdered, and the list of suspects is "piling up faster than late fees on an overdue book".

This enormous September selection ends with Koren Zailckas' debut novel, Mother, Mother. How controlling can a mother be? Josephine Hurst has her family under control until her oldest daughter runs off with a mysterious boyfriend. Josephine tightens her grip on the family until a violent incident leads to a visit from child-protective services and the truth about the Hursts might finally be revealed.

September looks exciting, doesn't it? Which books are you waiting to read?


Jane R said...

You are so right! This is an amazing list of books. What a variety! I've spotted several that sound particularly interesting, including Susan Boyer's new book and Janet Dawson's historical mystery. It appears that we have a lot of great titles to look forward to. Thanks Lesa!

Lesa said...

Isn't it terrific, Jane? As many books as I have in my house, I'm always pleased when new ones arrive.

Jane R said...

My husband has always said.... 'you can never have too many books.' Gotta love the guy for that alone! Have a great day, Lesa!

Lesa said...

You're right, Jane. One great reason to love him!

Beth Hoffman said...

Nice collection, and all so different. One thing is for sure -- with your enormous collection of books, you'll never be lacking to find one that suits your mood! Happy reading, Lesa.

Lesa said...

You're right, Beth. And, if for some reason paper books disappear someday, I'll still be set for the rest of my life!

Beth Hoffman said...

Indeed you will, Lesa! But let's hope that never happens.

Sue Farrell said...

I just devoured Gothics when I was a teenager---so Moonrise looks like a trip down memory lane for me.

Karen C said...

September does look to be very exciting! I love gothic, so Moonrise goes on my list. As does Alex and The Wrong Girl.

Lesa said...

I used to read tons of Gothics, too. I hope Moonrise lives up to my expectations.