Monday, November 30, 2015

January Treasures in My Closet

We're already talking about 2016! Are you ready for a sneak peek at some of the books coming out in January? If just the authors whose names begin with B are any indication, 2016 is going to be a fantastic year for books. We're in for reading treats!

Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife, has The Swans of Fifth Avenue. It's a novel about New York's "Swans" of the 1950s, Slim Keith, C.Z. Keith, Gloria Guinness, Pamela Churchill. And, they circle around socialite Babe Paley whose friendship with Truman Capote makes for a scandalous, headline-making, and enthralling story. (Release date is Jan. 26.)

I've heard wonderful comments about Katarina Bivald's The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. Broken Wheel, Iowa doesn't know what to do when Sara arrives, coming from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. But, she arrives just when Amy's funeral guests are leaving. Now, the residents look after their bewildered visitor. But, they don't expect her to open a quirky bookstore in the little town. (Release date is Jan. 19.)

I'm sure people are waiting to read Chris Bohjalian's The Guest Room. It's a chilling story about a bachelor party gone horribly wrong, two men dead in a suburban living room, two women on the run from the police, all leading to a marriage ripping apart at the seams, and a man whose happy life turns into a nightmare. (Release date is Jan. 5.)

The Stargazer's Sister by Carrie Brown is a period novel, a nineteenth-century story of female empowerment before its time, based on the life of Caroline Herschel, sister of the great astronomer William Herschel and an astronomer in her own right. William brings his sister to England, where she enjoys a world of music making and stargazing. But, with his announcement that he's going to get married, her world collapses. (Release date is Jan. 19.)

Taylor Brown's debut novel is Fallen Land. It's set in the final years of the Civil War, telling the story of two star-crossed lovers fleeing a ruthless band of bounty hunters from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to Sherman's March through Georgia. (Release date is Jan. 12.)

If Bill Bryson's book is as good as the cover, it will be terrific. The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain traveled around Britain by bus, train and rental car to see what changed in the twenty years since the last time he wrote about the land in Notes from a Small Island. (Release date is Jan. 19.)

Alafair Burke's new standalone novel of suspense is The Ex. Twenty years earlier Olivia Randall ruined Jack Harris' life. Now, when he's been arrested for a triple homicide, she's convinced he's innocent. As one of New York City's best criminal defense lawyers, she agrees to represent him. But, she begins to suspect that she is the one being manipulated. (Release date is Jan. 26.)

Joe Gannon was a freelance journalist in Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution, so he brings that expertise to his latest thriller, The Last Dawn. When Gladys Dario, a police lieutenant for the revolutionary Sandinista government in 1986 Nicaragua is kidnapped by a Contra commander, she knows the only hope for escape is with her partner on the police force, former Sandinista guerrilla commandant Ajax Montoya. He rescues her, but he's imprisoned for years, and she's exiled. And, then a young American journalist goes missing in El Salvador, and a powerful senator wants Ajax Montoya and his partner to run that rescue operation. (Release date is Jan. 26.)

I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, so I'm looking forward to Mary Chamberlain's The Dressmaker's War, another historical novel about choices made during World War II. In London, 1939, Ada Vaughan has an unusual dressmaking skill, and dreams of a better life. She's swept off her feet by an Austrian aristocrat who brings her to Paris. But, when war breaks out, he disappears, and she's taken prisoner by the Germans. In order to survive, she becomes dressmaker to the Nazi wives. The choices she makes will come back to haunt her years later. (Release date is Jan. 12.)

Jessica Chiarella asks a difficult question in her debut novel, And Again. "Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance?" Four terminally ill patients are given genetically perfect bodies, exact replicas of their old selves. But, without their old bodies, their new physical identities have no memories. As they try to reenter their previous lives and relationships, they are faced with a question. "How much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart and in your body?" (Release date is Jan. 12.)

River of Ink by Paul M.M. Cooper is also a debut novel, a sweeping historical epic of poetry and revolution, about the power of language. In thirteenth century Sri Lanka, Asanka is poet to the king, living a life of luxury. But when a usurper take the throne, Asanka's role dramatically changes. The cruel, calculating king still loves poetry, and commissions Asanka to translate a holy Sanskrit epic into the language spoken by recently acquired subjects. But, meaning can be altered in different languages, and Asanka's version of the epic, about the killing of an unjust ruler, inspires and arouses the oppressed people. (Release date is Jan. 26.)

An editor with a New York publishing company is totally out of her element in Shelley Costa's Practical Sins for Cold Climates. Val Cameron is sent to the Canadian Northwoods to sign a reclusive bestselling author to a contract. First she has to find him. And, then she has to clear him of murder charges. (Release date is Jan. 26.)

With A Prisoner in Malta, Edgar Award winner Phillip DePoy launches a new series featuring Christopher Marlowe, playwright, student, spy. In 1583, the nineteen-year-old Marlowe, with a reputation as a brawler, a womanizer, a genius and a social upstart at Cambridge, is charged by the Queen's spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, to track down the truth about a growing plot against Queen Elizabeth. The path to that truth seems to run through a prisoner held in complete seclusion in a heavily guarded dungeon in Malta. Marlowe must unravel one of the greatest mysteries in history and help uncover a scheme of assassination and invasion. (Release date is Jan. 26.)

John Donvan and Caren Zucker join forces for a book that combines history, activism, and heartbreaking stories. In a Different Key: The Story of Autism tells the story of this often misunderstood conditions, diagnosed first seventy-five years ago. It's a story of civil rights battles and ordinary people, families and history. (Release date is Jan. 19.)

American Housewife is a collection of stories by Helen Ellis. The back cover blurb says, "A sharp, funny, delightfully unhinged collection of stories set in the dark world of domesticity". It's an "uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood". (Release date is Jan. 12.)

Scott Frank's debut novel is Shaker. Meet Roy Cooper, an "errand runner" for various New York criminals, sent to L.A. to shoot a man a week after an earthquake hit, leaving the city in chaos. He does his job, but, in wandering the streets afterward, looking for his car, he comes across a jogger being beaten by four young gangbangers. Although he tries to avoid it, he's caught up in the middle of the situation, and he's mistaken for a hero when a video goes viral. Now what? (Release date is Jan. 26.)

It's not easy to summarize Jason Gurley's novel, Eleanor. Identical twins Eleanor and Esmerelda are inseparable until a terrible accident claims Esme's life. Eleanor's family is left in tatters. Years later, Eleanor's reality begins to unravel, as time and again, she falls out of her reality into other ones. One day, she's torn from her reality altogether, and meets a mysterious stranger who reveals the weight of her family's loss. Esmerelda's death was not the only tragedy in her family's history, and, unless Eleanor can master her extraordinary new abilities, it may not be the last. (Release date is Jan. 12.)

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth looks like it will be a moving novel. At thirty-nine, Anna Forster has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. She decides to move into residential care facility. There's only one other person her own age there, Luke, and, unexpectedly their relationship turns to love. And, the time comes when Anna's family separates them. What happens when one woman, moved by their relationship, thinks they should be together? (Release date is Jan. 19.)

There's already a lot of buzz about Gregg Hurwitz' Orphan X. Evan Smoak, once known as Orphan X, was trained as part of the U.S. government's secret program of covert operation of assassins, the Orphan Program. Smoak broke with the program, and used everything he knew to disappear. Now, as the secretive Nowhere Man, he helps the desperate and deserving. But, someone has discovered his secret, someone who will exploit his secrets to eliminate him. (Release date is Jan. 19.)

It's a fantastic first day of January book releases, isn't it? And, there will be more coming tomorrow. Is there something here that excites you? What are you anticipating?


Rosemary said...

Oh my goodness, such richness Lesa!

I am keen to read the Readers of Broken Wheel book, and I always enjoy Bill Bryson. There are many authors here that are new to me - the Helen Ellis collection looks good. I very much like Dana Stabenow's novels set in Alaska, so Shelley Costa's novel looks interesting too. And I think my mother might enjoy the Phillip DePoy series, so thanks for that tip-off (always desperate for Christmas present ideas).

We saw so many books we coveted in the Dulwich Picture Gallery shop on our trip to London last weekend - unfortunately art and art-related books are horribly expensive, so we may have to wait in hope that the library buys them. We are very fortunate in having a Fine Art Library as part of the council library system here in Edinburgh.


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I loved NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, so I'm sure I'll be reading the new Bill Bryson.

Lesa said...

Isn't it a wonderful list, Rosemary? You are fortunate to have a Fine Art Library. Very nice, especially with art books so expensive.

I was talking with my sister over the weekend. I told her, not 2016 because we're probably going to Ireland, but that I intend to visit you in Edinburgh in the next couple years! I'd love to meet and visit with you, and see your beloved Edinburgh.

Lesa said...

I bogged down a little with Bryson's book about Australia, Jeff, but I'm a fan. I'm looking forward to that one, too.

CindyD said...

A couple to add to my list, thanks Lesa! At the top of my January list are MOONLIGHT OVER PARIS by Jennifer Robson and Terri Shames' newest, THE NECESSARY MURDER OF NONIE BLAKE.

Nann said...

I look forward to reading many of these! I hope there will be ARCs at ALAMW.

TFJ said...

Just put two on hold at the library: The Ex and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.

Hoping to encourage the library to purchase the Costa one about Alaska.

Thanks, Lesa.


Margie Bunting said...

I already have Broken Wheel on hold at the library, but I'm also excited about the books by Bill Bryson (a favorite), Mary Chamberlain, Scott Frank, and especially Jessica Chiarella. I've added them to my list. Thank you!

Lesa said...

Cindy, Terry Shames' new one is on part 2 tomorrow. It's one on the top of my list, too!

Lesa said...

My pleasure, everyone! I like to add books to your TBR piles!

Rosemary said...

Great Lesa - come on over!

CindyD said...

Oh, there's a part two? Cool.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Rosemary!

Lesa said...

Part 2 will be up tomorrow, Cindy.

Reine said...

Lesa, these all sound good to me. I like historic novels and novels in a historic setting, and I'm very interested in a few books on your list today, especially A Prisoner in Malta, The Nightingale, Fallen Land, The Stargazer's Sister, Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

Do you know it any of these are planned for release by Audible? Actually, I'm interested in any of the books on your treasures list, especially if the are planned as audiobooks.

I was wondering why it takes so long for me to receive your emails about the current blog post. I count on the notifications, but usually don't receive them until very late at night. This post, Monday's, I didn't get until almost midnight AZ MT. Maybe it's the time difference. If it's possible--it would be more fun to receive it when it goes up. xo

Kaye Barley said...

Great list!!

I was able to get a copy of Alafair's book while we were at B'con. I've read it and recommend it. Highly!!

I've also read The Guest Room. Chilling is the perfect word, Lesa. I enjoyed it immensely.

I'm very much looking forward to The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

Lesa said...

Reine, I don't have any idea why it takes so long on the emails. I post the blog at 3 a.m. AZ time, so it's up early for those on Eastern time. So, it's already posted any time you look for it during the day, but that doesn't help if you're waiting for an email notification. What are you receiving the email from?

Lesa said...

Love to know when you recommend a book, Kaye! I anticipated that with Alafair's!

Reine said...

Hi Lesa. I receive the email notifications about your blog "Lesa's Book Critiques" from . I signed up for the notifications which I receive reliably, but usually late in the day.

Anyway... I'm sorry I mentioned it here, because it seems to have taken the attention away from my questions and actual comments about your wonderful list that I adore and look forward to but, because of my disability, rely on email and texting/messaging notifications and often must read the posts in mail. I feel now this was an inappropriate place to pose the question, but at the time I thought others might be having difficulty with it.


Reine said...

the name was deleted. It was Lesa's Book Critiques feedproxy AT google DOT com.