Saturday, March 02, 2019

April Treasures in My Closet

I've already read several of the treasures in my closet, April book releases. If they're any indication, we're all in for a treat. There's quite a selection this month - mysteries, memoirs, essays. I hope you find something that appeals to you.

I'll kick off the list with a wonderful debut mystery, Connie Berry's A Dream of Death. Ohio antiques dealer Kate Hamilton returns to a remote Scottish island a year after her husband died there. She's answering a call from her sister-in-law, owner of a bed-and-breakfast. When Kate arrives, Elenor is too involved in the Tartan Ball to have time for her, but she indicates there's a mystery involving a local book and a small casket. But, before she can read the book, there's a murder that seems to be a reenactment of a two hundred year old murder. Solid debut with a mature, intelligent amateur sleuth. (Release date is April 9.)

Erica Boyce's novel, The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green, is not about aliens. Daniel Green makes crop circles. He's a member of a secret organization, and he travels across the country creating strange works of art that leave communities mystified. He's always been alone, and likes it that way. But when a dying farmer hires him in a last-ditch effort to bring publicity to a small Vermont town, Daniel finds himself at odds with his art. He gets drawn into a family struggling to stitch itself back together. The consequences will change his life forever. (Release date is April 2.)

Writer's apprentice Lena London is back in Julia Buckley's Death Waits in the Dark. Lena and suspense novelist Camilla Graham are working on their latest collaboration. But things heat up when a local teacher, Jane Wyland, pays Camilla a visit, and tells her to reveal Camilla's late husband's family secret, or she will. Lena is sure there are no secrets to reveal. Then, Jane is found dead, and the duo is convinced whatever secret she was threatening to reveal led to her murder. (Release date is April 2.)

The Binding by Bridget Collins is historical fiction with a touch of magic. "Imagine you could extract your worst memory, have it bound in a book, and hide it away forever. Would you submit to a binding?"  Bindings are written while the binder and the teller are both in a kind of mind-melding race. "The Binding is about trauma, sadness, joy, love, greed, and knowledge. It's about books, and their beauty, power, and mystique." Tavia Kowalchuk, Senior Director of Marketing for HarperCollins, wrote that description. I'm hooked. (Release date is April 16.)

Bestselling authors Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne return to Pell with the second book in their trilogy, No Country for Old Gnomes. Puns, humor, and an irreverent fantasy universe that will remind readers of Terry Pratchett or Monty Python. "War is coming, and it's gonna be Pell." It's cheerful gnomes against halflings with grenades. One halfling grenade turns Offi Numminem's world upside down, and he finds himself as the leader of a lovable group of misfits. (Release date is April 16.)

Lexie Elliott takes readers to the Scottish Highlands in The Missing Years. Ailsa Calder has inherited half of an old Scottish manor in the middle of nowhere. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago - her father. When Ailsa and the half sister she barely knows return to the house, Ailsa can't escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house is watching her. And, she can't ignore how the neighborhood animals refuse to set foot within the gates of the garden. When the first nighttime intruder shows up, Ailsa fears she could lose everything. (Release date is April 23.)

Jennifer Cody Epstein's novel, Wunderland, is "An unflinching exploration of Nazi Germany and its legacy." Ava Fisher has been estranged from her mother for years. There were two many unanswered questions. Who was Ava's father? Where had her mother, Ilse been during the war? Why had she left her only child in a German orphanage during the war's final months? But, when Ilse's ashes arrive from Germany, there's also a collection of unsent letters addressed to someone Ava doesn't know, Renate Bauer. Those letters reveal a shocking history that goes back to Berlin in 1933. (Release date is April 23.)

Mariah Fredericks' A Death of No Importance was a Library Journal pick as one of the best mysteries of 2018. Ladies' maid Jane Prescott is back in Death of a New American, dealing with another death during wedding planning. This time, she travels to Long Island with the Benchley family. They're staying at the home of Charles Tyler, known for dealing with New York's Italian mafia. When the Tyler's Italian-American nanny is killed, the family wants to brush it aside. But, Jane isn't willing to let it go, and Mr. Benchley asks her to work with a reporter to investigate. (Release date is April 9.)

Before She Was Found is Heather Gudenkauf's thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession, and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town. It was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover for twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her two friends. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, they don't expect the dangerous consequences. Later that night, Cora is found on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, and her friends are nowhere to be found. The investigation in the small rural town leaves no stone unturned. Everyone is a suspect, and no one can be trusted. (Release date is April 16.)

I'm always interested in another author's interpretation of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Rachel Howell Hall's standalone thriller is They All Fall Down. Seven strangers are invited to a vacation on a luxurious private island off the coast of Mexico. But, they've been brought to the island under false pretenses. Each of the seven harbors a secret. Sporadic cell phone coverage, and miles of ocean keep the group on the island. Strange accidents stir suspicions, as "one by one...they all fall down." (Release date is April 9.)

Leslie Karst follows up Death al Fresco with Murder from Scratch. Restaurateur Sally Solari is not happy when her dad persuades her to take in Evelyn, her estranged blind cousin whose mother has just died of a drug overdoes. But, Evelyn proves to be fun, and she's a terrific cook. She also suspects her mother's death was neither accident nor suicide. Together, the cousins turn to sleuthing in a world of cutthroat competitiveness between chefs. (Release date is April 9.)

Although my ARC is called "Miracle Submarine", according to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Angie Kim's novel is called Miracle Creek. It's a courtroom thriller, a whodunit, according to Scott Turow. In Miracle Creek, Virginia, Park and Young Yoo operate a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in their backyard, called a miracle submarine. In some medical circles, it's believed that regular doses of 100 percent oxygen can cure a broad spectrum of conditions, including autism. Then, the Miracle Submarine explodes. Who set the fire? Why? The authorities have a suspect. As the mruder trial unfolds, secrets come tumbling forth. (Release date is April 16.)

Edith Maxwell's fourth Quaker Midwife mystery is Charity's Burden. It's obvious times haven't changed from 1889 when abortion was a crime, and women were desperate. When Quaker midwife Rose Carroll accompanies a patient to the hospital, and Charity Skills dies, Rose suspects the mother of five had a botched abortion. Rose asks questions of her patients, medical professionals, and even a mysterious woman, trying to find answers. (Release date is April 8.)

The Honey Bus is Meredith May's memoir, the story of how bees saved her life. When Meredith was five, her parents split up, and she was left in the care of her grandfather, an eccentric beekeeper. Her first encounter with a bee, when it crawled on her arm, she discovered that everything she needed to know about life and family was right before her eyes, in the secret world of bees. (Release date is April 2.)

Alexander McCall Smith introduces a new police team in The Department of Sensitive Crimes, the first Detective Varg novel. This small team is an elite squad who handles strange and difficult cases. They search for someone who stabbed a vendor in the back of the knee. Then there are the girls who are rivals, and report crimes such as missing people. (Release date is April 16.)

Scot & Soda is the second Last Ditch mystery by Catriona McPherson. Scottish-born Lexy Campbell is finished with murders. At least she's finished until her Halloween party on her houseboat behind the Last Ditch Motel. When she and her friends try to bring up the beer she has cooling in the slough, they bring up a body instead. They should let the police investigate. But, this group of friends just can't let it go. It's another skillfully written, fun mystery. (Release date is April 8.)

As much as I love Anna Quindlen's essays, I suspect her latest book, Nanaville, isn't for me. It's a collection that celebrates the love and joy of being a grandmother. According to the back cover, it's "A big-hearted book of wisdom, wit, and insight." (Release date is April 23.)

If you're a fan of Ruth Reichl's memoirs, you'll want to read her latest one, Save Me the Plums. For the first time, she writes of her groundbreaking years as editor in chief of Gourmet magazine. My ARC doesn't come with recipes, but the book you buy or get at the library will include them. (Release date is April 2.)

Lily and the Octopus was a bestseller when it came out. Now, author Steven Rowley is back with the novel, The Editor. "After years of struggling as writer in 1990s New York City, James Small finally gets his big break when his novel sells to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis." James' autobiographical novel exposes his dysfunctional family. But, when the book's forthcoming publication threatens to unravel his relationships, James can't bring himself to finish it. Jackie sends him home to confront the truth. When a family secret is revealed, "he realizes his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page." (Release date is April 2.)

In Paige Shelton's The Loch Ness Papers, bookseller Delaney Nichols is on her way to ask a minister to perform her wedding when she bumps into a man who turns out to be a Loch Ness monster fanatic.  But, she doesn't believe he's a killer. When he's accused of murder, she mixes her wedding plans and her family's trip to Scotland with an investigation. (Release date is April 2.)

Oh, a time travel novel! Gwendolyn Womack brings us The Time Collector. Roan West was born with an extraordinary gift. He can relive memories across centuries and perceive the past of any object he touches. He has spent his life using his talents to find and sell valuable antiques, but his quiet life changes when Stuart, a fellow pyschometrist, has unearthed some out-of-place artifacts that challenge recorded history. The implications are staggering, but soon after the discovery, Stuart disappears. (Release date is April 16.)

There are some books on this list that I want to read, too, but I can't summarize everything. I hope you find a treasure or two of your own in today's post.

Richard Armstrong - The Don Con (4/1)
Chip Cheek - Cape May (4/30)
Shannon Sedgwick Davis - To Stop a Warlord: My Story of Justice, Grace, and the Fight for Peace (4/2)
Molly Dektar - The Ash Family (4/9)
Paul Di Filippo - The Deadly Kiss-Off (4/2)
David R. Dow - Confessions of an Innocent Man (4/9)
Jennifer duBois - The Spectators (4/2)
Mieke Eerkens - All Ships Follow Me (4/2)
Helen Ellis - Southern Lady Code (4/16)
Lydia Fitzpatrick - Lights All Night Long (4/2)
Nell Freudenberg - Lost and Wanted (4/2)
Melanie Golding - Little Darlings (4/30)
Tracey Garvis Graves - The Girl He Used to Know (4/2)
Parnell Hall - Lights! Camera! Puzzles! (4/2)
Anna Lee Huber - An Artless Demise (4/2)
Erin Kelly - Stone Mothers (4/23)
Thomas Lockley & Geoffrey Girard - African Samurai (4/30)
Jennifer McMahon - The Invited (4/30)
Brian Panowich - Like Lions (4/30)
Dave Patterson - Soon the Light Will Be Perfect (4/9)
Mary Laura Philpott - I Miss You When I Blink (4/2)
Tiffany Reisz - The Rose (4/16)
Nathaniel Rich - Losing Earth: A Recent History (4/9)
Sally Rooney - Normal People (4/16)
Sarah Rose - D-Day Girls (4/23)
Chris Rush - The Light Years (4/2)
Erin Somers - Stay Up with Hugo Best (4/2)
Bev Thomas - A Good Enough Mother (4/30)
Miriam Toews - Women Talking (4/2)
Jessica Yellin - Savage News (4/9)


Christie said...

What a list of books! I had to use two devices to reserve my books- one to look at the list and the other to place the holds at the library. I sure hope they don't all come in at the same time. April should mean a lot of reading. Thanks, Lesa.

Jeff Meyerson said...

This just proves yet again that there are TOO MANY BOOKS and it is impossible to keep up! I put the Alexander McCall Smith on hold. According to Amazon, it is set in Malmo, Sweden, for those who (like me) were wondering.

Lesa said...

I hope they don't come in all at the same time either, Christie. You'd have to take vacation!

Lesa said...

Thank you, Jeff. I appreciate any additions. I agree! I can't even find books at times when friends ask about them. Too many books!

SandyG265 said...

A Dream of Death sounds interesting. I’ll have to see which of the mysteries my library gets in.

holdenj said...

Treasures indeed! So much to look forward to and places to visit as winter winds down!

Lesa said...

I loved A Dream of Death, Sandy. I hope your library gets every mystery you want to read!

Lesa said...

You're so right, Julie. Winter isn't winding down here, at least for the next week. We're expecting snow tomorrow, and below freezing temperatures for most of the week. Pile on the books!

Margie Bunting said...

April looks like a great month for reading! I already had seven of the books you described on my list. And I would add these: Nina George, The Book of Dreams: Viola Shipman, The Summer Cottage; Leslie Budewicz, Chai Another Day; Lisa Scottoline, Someone Knows; Cecilia Ahern, Roar; Ellery Adams, Murder in the Reading Room (terrific series); John Sandford, Neon Prey.

Jeff Meyerson said...

We had a little (covered the tops of the cars) snow yesterday morning, but it melted. We had more (about 3-4 inches) this morning, but it is supposed to go to 42 and I see it is starting to melt. But worst of all is the bigger storm predicted for Sunday night, maybe 3-6 inches in New York and more to the north, at least as currently predicted, though I am hoping the promised "mixing at the coast" will benefit us.

Glen Davis said...

The Loch Ness Papers sounds interesting.

Antiques Ravin', the next Rash 'n' Treasures book comes out April 30 by Barbara Allan (Max Allan and Barbara Collins) I eager to read about what the Bourne women getup to this year.

Lesa said...

Margie & Glen - Thanks for adding the other books that readers might want to pick up. I appreciate it.

Jeff, I'm sorry you've been stuck at home in the weather this year. Blah winter weather.

Bonnie K. said...

There are so many books that I want to read, but there isn't enough time to read them. I'm one of those that keeps buying books. I'll keep working at getting to them. LOL

Lesa said...

I know. Right there with you, Bonnie.