Sunday, December 01, 2013

January Treasures in My Closet

It's so hard to believe I'm talking about January already. But, you're going to want to see this list of books. January has some outstanding titles.

It's been a while since there's been a Sarah Addison Allen novel. Allen's novels always have a magic about them. Lost Lake features a widow who decides to take a new chance at life a year after her husband's death. She packs up her young daughter and heads to Suley, Georgia, home to Lost Lake and one of the happiest summers of her life. She finds a rundown place full of ghosts and oddities, and one last chance to bring the cottages, her heart, and the hearts of all the guests back to life. Look for it on Jan. 21.

Lillian Stewart Carl's latest Jean Fairbairn/Alasdair Cameron mystery, The Avalon Charter is a complicated story to summarize. Farnaby-born archaeologist Maggie Lauder has personal reasons for trying to prove the island is the Avalon of Arthurian legend. But, when she opens a tomb she causes unexpected headlines. Jean Fairbairn planned to write about Maggie's discovery, but her husband discovers he has a history with an investigating detective. Jean and Alasdair are stranded on Farnaby, knowing they can only trust each other, or so they think. Release date is Jan. 22.

In The Orphan Choir, Sophie Hannah twists a ghost story of domestic horror.
Louise Beeston's son has been shipped away to a prestigious boarding school where he sings in the boys' choir. Left alone in the city with her husband, Louise finds her home life made even more unbearable by a rowdy neighbor who blasts choral music at all hours of the night, music only she can hear. As she tries to escape the ghostly music, she grows obsessed, unsteady, and her family life begins to unravel. It will be out on Jan. 28.

Gaute Heivoll's Before I Burn is based on a true account. It's a novel about an arsonist on the loose and the young boy who witnessed it all. A small town in 1970s Norway was targeted by an arsonist for one terrifying month. But, a young boy christened at the end of the fires grows up to retell the story. Eventually, the arsonist's motivations are slowly revealed. It's a Jan. 7 release.

Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank, brings us the passionate story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny, in  Under the Wide and Starry Sky. Fanny van de Grift Osbourne left her philandering husband, sailed to Europe with her children, and after a tragedy, ended up meeting a lively Scot. The two begin a fierce love affair that spans the decades and the globe. It's due out Jan. 21.

Perfect is the new novel by Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Byron Hemmings wakes to a morning that looks like any other, but when his family drives into a dense fog, the morning changes in one unexpected turn. Byron's mother doesn't seem to have noticed, but for the young boy, nothing will ever be the same. Release date is Jan. 14.

James A. Levine brings us Bingo's Run. A modern trickster tale draws on traditional African legends to tell the story of a boy alone in a dangerous world who must depend on his wits to survive. Release date is Jan. 7.

Meet Luca, a curious young boy living with his mother until one day when she doesn't wake up to take him to school. But, Marina Mander's novel, The First True Lie, isn't a morbid story, but the story of a young boy deciding to identify himself as a human being, and no longer as an orphan. It's a Jan. 21 release.

In Rebecca Mead's My Life in Middlemarch, the author revisits the seminal book of her youth, George Eliot's Middlemarch. After Mead gained admission to Oxford, and moving to the U.S. to become a journalist, through several love affairs then marriage and family, the author read and reread Middlemarch. In this revealing memoir, Rebecca leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. It's a Jan. 28 release.

In Mark Pryor's The Blood Promise, Hugo Marston must figure out what lies hidden inside an old sailor's chest before a 200-year-old blood promise is revealed and claims another life. In post-Revolution Paris, an old man signs a letter in blood, hides it in a sailor's chest, and a messenger arrives to transport it. But then the plague strikes and an untimely death changes history. Two-hundred-years later when someone discovers the secrets hidden deep inside the chest, they decide that the power and money they promise are worth killing for. Release date is Jan. 14.

A Killing at Cotton Hill introduced ex-police chief Samuel Craddock. Now, Terry Shames brings him back in The Last Death of Jack Harbin. The shocking murder of a wounded Gulf War veteran who returned home brings Craddock into an investigation of small-town loyalties and betrayals, and dark secrets of the past and present. Look for this one on Jan. 7.

Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad, but moved to the U.S. as a boy. Following three acclaimed novels, he now turns to memoir to tell the story of his life so far in Little Failure: A Memoir. It's a classic underdog story of a lifelong misfit. Release date is Jan. 7.

Although Cath Staincliffe's Dead to Me came out in the U.K. in 2012, it's only coming out in the U.S. on Jan. 14. It's a police procedural featuring an unlikely female detective team, Janet Scott, a straight-laced detective constable, and Rachel Bailey, a detective constable from a deprived childhood, in Manchester, England. In this one, they must work together to find a vicious killer who left a teenage girl stabbed to death.

Adam Sternbergh's Shovel Ready is also a Jan. 14 release. In a near-future New York City split between the wealthy able to "tap in" to a sophisticated virtual reality and those who are left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. He used to be a garbageman. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed. Now he's a hit man. Now, with his latest job, he needs to finish the job, clear his conscience, and make sure he's not the one who ends up in the ground.

Sam Thomas takes readers back to Civil War England in The Harlot's Tale, the sequel to  The Midwife's Tale. As the city suffers through a brutal summer heat, Bridget Hodgson and Martha Hawkins are drawn into a murder investigation more frightening than their last. To appease God's wrath, and end the heat wave, the Puritan leaders of the city of York launch a campaign to whip the city's sinners into godliness. But someone is York has targeted the city's sinners for execution, and Bridget and Martha race to find a killer. Release date is Jan. 7.

Lisa Unger's latest thriller, In the Blood, is also released Jan. 7. Lana Granger lives a life of lies, but someone is dying to tell. She's told so many lies that she's can't recall the truth. But, when she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke, she may have met her match. When Lana's best friend disappears, she lies to everyone, including the police. But, someone knows about Lana's lies, and is dying to tell.

This fascinating collection culminates with Magdalena Zyzak's The Ballad of Barnabas Pierkiel. "Set in the quaint (though admittedly backward) fictional nation of Scalvusia in 1939, the story follows the exploits of a young swineherd with romantic delusions of grandeur. Desperate to attract the voluptuous Roosha, gypsy concubine of the local boot and shoe magnate, Barnabas and his short-legged steed Wilhelm get embroiled in a series of scandals and misadventures, as every attempt at wooing ends in catastrophe." Release date is Jan. 14.

So, what do you think? Is there something that you want to read to kick off 2014?


Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

A whole crop of terrific sounding new books - wow!

I've read LOST LAKE already, and I have to say - Sarah Allen Addison fans will not be disappointed.

I'm looking forward to reading several of these, Lesa, thank you for the preview.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lesa. You are so right in so many books - good books - due out in January. There is also a good batch at the beginning of December, though I suppose you've already talked about them.

Personally, I'm looking forward to all the cat books. Krista Davis starts a new series with MURDER SHE BARKED, the first in a series entitled Paws and Claws.

In early January Miranda James will publish (for Dean James of Murder by the Book in Houston, TX) the 5th Cat in the Stacks series - The Silence of the Library,

Another early January book I'm really looking forward to is the 7th Ghost Ghoul book by Victoria Laurie - The Ghoul Next Door. Someday I'll get to one of her signings in person. Apparently it's something to see, including a few readings!

Early December brings more favorites in Juliet Blackwell's HOME FOR THE HAUNTING, a haunted home renovation mystery #4 as well as Jennie Bentley's HOME FOR THE HOMICIDE, DIY mystery #7. The topics of both are not sd obvious as they seem, and both series are quite good.

Two more scary books come our way, from two more literary authors. Michael Connelly's book, THE GODS OF GUILT, a Mickey Haller mystery, is due out in two days! Mickey Haller gets the text, "Call me ASAP - 187," and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game. I just watched the movie of THE LINCOLN LAWYER, and I wouldn't have any any trouble picturing Michael McConnahay some more.

Lisa Gardener's suspenseful FEAR NOTHING is due out in early January, but no tour has been announced yet. Her books are truly scarey in the suspense they induce.

My goal is to finish one book and ergo the Sookie Stackhouse series this year. I haven't gotten my hands onto #14 yet, since I'm waiting for a copy signed by author Charlaine Harris. This is the book that wraps up all those good and vad little details on the more minor characters and lets us know what happened in their lives and where they ended up. I don't expect something spectacular, but I would like to know some of the details it offers.

I had read each book in the series but then re-read the entire series this year by listening to them on audiobook (you are welcome to read along and be, as Amazon puts it, be immersed in the experience) What a change in the relaxed attitude read out loud brings! Having Johannah Parker bring each character to life brought the entire story more genuineness. I listened to 11, 12, and 13 as one book. I could not, for the life of me, understand the scathing or disappointing remarks given to #13 or Charlaine herself. I found it just as enjoyable as the rest of the books and in the same style.

I enjoyed "True Blood" very much the first couple seasons, but when they started making up so much of the material, it spoiled the books. Thank heavens I read them first. While I think that the actors have done a superb job, I'm not so sure I'll watch what will surely be the last season of True Blood.

It has been fun to get so involved in a series (Last I can think of is Harry Potter) that you read that re-read before the next entry comes out, and so on. I'm hoping that happens with a few of these kitty books. Dean is doing especially well keeping his books higher up on the NYT list. My best to Krista Davis as she begins her new adventure.

Anonymous said...

The "anonymous" of comment 2 was me. Had to file that way since I no long have a Google account. Now let's see if I can get this to go through.

Sandie Herrron

Lesa said...


That's good to know about the Sarah Addison Allen book. I'm a big fan, just haven't had a chance to read it yet. It is a good list of books, isn't it?

Lesa said...


Good to see you here! I've already summarized or chatted about some of those books, but it never hurts to bring them up again. And, I'm sure the authors are happy to see the titles again. I'm afraid I never got into Sookie. I was a Lily Bard fan, and Sookie never did it for me.

Charlotte said...

In the Blood is the book I would like to read in the new year. Love her books.

Lesa said...

I don't know that Lisa Unger's book is for me, Charlotte. I hope you enjoy it!

My Recent Favorite Books said...

I've read one of Sarah Addison Allen's books, and really enjoyed it!
Im looking forward to reading Lost Lake. =)

Lesa said...

I like all of her books, Melissa. I hope you enjoy this one.

Karen C said...

My free time for reading has sadly switched to work-related materials, but The Avalon Chanter has me intrigued.