Like all the Chet and Bernie books, Of Mutts and Men is full of tiny moments of joy and humor. I have loved this series since it began. Spencer Quinn (pen name for Cape Cod writer Peter Abrahams) captures the spirit of all dogs in his narrator Chet. You don't have to take my word for it; he has been lauded by Stephen King: "Spencer Quinn speaks two languages--suspense and dog--fluently." The Boston Globe calls Chet "the most lovable narrator in all of crime fiction." If you want to feel good, pick up this book.
A Week at the Shore is the story of three sisters, a demanding, judgmental father, and a beautiful family home set high on a bluff above the Rhode Island coast. Twenty years have passed and the middle sister Mallory is taking her daughter Joy home to visit the house that she grew up in. She is immediately reminded why she fled to New York; there are family secrets, scandals, resentments and small town gossip.If you are looking for a summer escape, this is the book for you. I was immediately caught up in the Aldiss family story and dove in eagerly, letting the waves of the story wash up over me.
Based on a true story, The Imperfects gives us a little history, a little mystery and a lot of family drama. The Millers are brought together when the youngest granddaughter discovers a 137-carat yellow diamond in a brooch that belonged to their recently deceased grandmother Helen, revealing a hidden life they knew nothing about. The news of the secret diamond gets out and the family has to work together to find the provenance that will allow them to keep it--or sell it--for the money they all so desperately need. This is the perfect story to get caught up in that will take your mind off everything, including your own family.
Antonia, a recently retired college English professor, is still mourning the loss of her husband Sam, a kind, socially progressive doctor. Living in Vermont, she is surrounded by farmers and immigrants (she is one herself, in fact) but without her husband she can no longer deal with the simple problems around her house, let alone the complicated issues of the local immigrant population--and then there are her sisters. Alvarez writes about life and relationships beautifully with truth and compassion. I was completely caught up in Antonia's story from the moment the book began.
Three crimes, decades apart, each involving a young woman in a party dress found dead on a deserted road, are at the heart of this new mystery from Julia Spencer-Fleming. This is book nine in the Reverend Clare Fergusson/Chief Russ Van Alstyne mystery series. As with Louise Penny--who is also a fan, by the way--each book can be read as a stand-alone with the crime resolved by the end, but characters and relationships grow as the series develops. If you are new to Julia Spencer-Fleming, congratulations, you have a wonderful journey in front of you, starting with In The Bleak Midwinter. If, like me, you have been waiting seven long years for this next installment in the Clare/Russ story, sit down, relax and enjoy the ride. It is a good one.
On the surface, Beheld is a historical novel based on a real murder committed in Plymouth, ten years after the Pilgrims settled there, yet there are many layers here beyond the facts. The story is told in alternating narratives, mostly by Alice Bradford, wife of Governor William Bradford, and Eleanor Billington, wife of the murderer John Billington. It is certainly not the Pilgrim history I remember and the novel is all the more interesting for that. Beheld reminded me of The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter with its richness of history and my discomfort at the raw human emotion and conflict it portrays.
Life isn't easy on the South Side of Chicago for Claude McKay Love. His Grandma and her friend Paul are all he has left to guide him through. I read this wonderful debut novel in one sitting. Just read the first two pages and you will be hooked, too. The characters, the voice, the action are all new, fresh and appealing. I loved entering this other world, this other life that Gabriel Bump has created.
What seems like the most unbelievable part (brother and sister spontaneously combust when emotional, yet are unharmed) becomes totally believable in the hands of Kevin Wilson, known for his humorous and intelligent novels The Family Fang and Perfect Little World. So enjoyable to read, with a fascinating cast of characters!
Yes, it's about making beer, but it is also a book about family ties, what binds them together and what splits them apart. Two sisters, growing up on a family farm take two completely different paths. Edith gets married and starts a family, beer-obsessed Helen sells the family farm out from under Edith, without much regret, and builds a beer empire. I love Edith, by the way, and I love the way J. Ryan Stradal tells the stories of these two sisters.
Fierce and wonderful, moving and truthful, I love the story and characters in this amazing debut novel from Cara Wall. It reminds me of the best of Laurie Colwin and Elizabeth Strout. I fell into it completely, felt connected to it and did not want to leave it at the end.
I have always enjoyed Chelsea Handler's books for their smart humor and honesty; you get that and even more here. Chelsea needed to figure some things out and finally turned to a therapist. What follows is an honest reflection of her life, career and family that I found both moving and fascinating.
Roar is what happens when a woman is confronted with an obstacle or a situation again and again. Bestselling author Cecelia Ahern knows what it is like to be a woman in a man's world, so she started writing little stories when something would happen, and used the stories she heard from her women friends too. I would call it a little book of modern feminist fables but that may not make them sound as entertaining, or funny, or twistedly wonderful as they are. These stories will make you think, and make you laugh, and want to share them with your friends.
On the surface this novel is the story of Helen, a single mom, living in Cambridge, who happens to teach at MIT and writes bestselling books about physics. The death of her college roommate, and a mysterious phone call, make her look back on their friendship and how they each made their way in male dominated careers. It also makes Helen wonder about her life choices and what she may have missed along the way. An intriguing mix of science and emotion makes this a compelling read.
On the surface this is a novel about an inner-city girl who wants to be a rapper and has the skills and lineage to get her there--but it is much more than that. Angie Thomas brings us back to the world she created in her first powerful bestseller The Hate U Give. Both novels go way beyond just the social issues they portray because Angie Thomas is a crazy-talented writer. I can't wait to see what she will share with us next.
A famous artist is found standing by the dead body of her equally famous photographer husband one night and she won't say a word, for years, even after she is found guilty of his murder. Enter a criminal psychologist who is obsessed with getting her to talk.
I loved Lucille Howard when I met her in Berg's last novel The Story of Arthur Truluv so I was thrilled to find out that she was the central character in Night of Miracles. Lucille is old and won't put up with any nonsense but she is also wise, funny and kind. She offers comfort beyond the wonderful baked goods that she shares in her cooking classes. You don't have to read Arthur Truluv first but I hope you will enjoy both visits to Mason, Missouri as much as I did.
The LaCruz family has come together for two momentous occasions, a funeral and a birthday party. I loved every bit of this wonderful family saga. This is a must-read for lovers of John Irving.
A fascinating novel set during New York City's Gilded Age, centering on the life of Alva Vanderbilt, wife of William K. Vanderbilt, and her part in the building up of that family's reputation and place in society. It was so interesting and so well-done.
File Anne Youngson's debut novel (at the age of 70) under 'good things that come in small packages'. An English farm wife and a Danish museum curator begin a correspondence. Their lives couldn't be more different; the curator even needs an English dictionary at his side to be sure of the meanings of some words, but they manage, through all that, to tell each other the stories of their lives and give voice to their feelings through the intimacy of letter writing.
This novel is all about family, friendship, and community. Set in the same fictional Vermont town that appeared in her first novel, Miller presents a story of a mysterious will, a lost dog, and a big-box store that is threatning to change life in Guthrie forever. The people who inhabit Guthrie have known each other for a long time, are always willing to lend a hand, and are known for doing what is right. I loved Louise Miller's first book and I was even more moved and charmed by this one.
Funny as always, but poignant too, David Sedaris is back with a new collection of essays. His family looms larger in this book. As his father ages, Sedaris gathers his family for vacations at the house he has bought near the Carolina coast. Along with his usual sharp observations about store clerks, his fitbit, and life with Hugh, he opens up about the loss of his mother and his sister Tiffany. Whether you chose to read it yourself or listen to him read it to you (on CD or Libro.fm download), you will find yourself making time to stay with it just a little longer.
Every time I sit down to read Sloane Crosley's brilliant, funny essays I realize how much I enjoy how she thinks, what she pays attention to, and what she remembers. Sharp witted, laugh out loud funny, Sedaris-esque -- my words fail me but my feelings are very strong. Wherever she goes and whatever she has to say about it, I want to be there.
The unexpected gift of a crock full of sourdough starter leads software engineer Lois Clary on a journey of self discovery as she gains new skills and new friendships in the halls of San Francisco food markets. This fun novel will have you craving a nice, crusty loaf of bread.
Artemis is part heist caper on the moon and part space travelogue, with plenty of science, laughs, and excitement along the way. Andy Weir (The Martian) makes life on the moon very real, and his lunar city, Artemis, is full of memorable and cutthroat characters. There are plenty of rules to keep everyone safe, but that doesn't stop Jazz Bashara -- moon kid, porter, and hustler -- from bending them to get ahead. Smart and quick on her feet, she is willing to do just about anything to make a slug.
t turns out that Tom Hanks the writer is just as appealing and engaging as Tom Hanks, the Oscar-winning actor. His seventeen short stories will take you to unexpected places, and they are at times funny, moving, and charming. For his legions of fans, this is a must-read book.
This wonderful debut novel follows a graduate student in chemistry as she tries to cope with the growing pressures from three different relationships in her life -- with her parents, her boyfriend, and her advisor. At turns funny and heart-beaking, I loved the writing, never certain where this woman and her clever mind would take me.
Pachinko begins simply with this beautiful line "History has failed us, but no matter." This sweeping historical saga tells the story of a poor Korean family, their immigration to Japan, and their attempts to prosper despite the difficulties and prejudices each generation must confront there. Min Jin Lee writes with grace, and the history that comes alive in the pages of this book will take root in your mind and in your heart.
A fallen theater director takes the opportunity to stage Shakespeare in a local prison, using inventive ways to entice the inmates to participate. I was enthralled from start to finish. Atwood has made a wonderful contribution to the Hogarth-Shakespeare series with her take on The Tempest.
This romantic-comedy debut novel has family, friendship, baking, and a dog named Salty. After I finished it I found myself wanting to drive to Vermont to find The Sugar Maple Inn. This is a sweet read for all New England romantics.
With each book she writes Jacqueline Woodson continues to exceed my expectations. Another Brooklyn moved me with it's beautiful language and it's stirring simplicity. Like Toni Morrison, Woodson captures the very essence of the time, place, and lives of her characters. Strong, simple, and pure, her writing is easy enough to devour in a sitting and satisfying enough to make me reflect, reread, and dwell upon it for days after. I am thrilled that Jacqueline Woodson has written another adult novel so that more readers have a chance to see what they have been missing.
Jonathan has an incredibly boring advertising job, a fiance who is a little out of his league, and a NYC apartment on a tenuous perhaps illegal month to month lease. His life changes dramatically when he takes over the care of his Dubai-bound brother's dogs Dante and Sissy. He laughs, he cries, he makes no sense. My affection for Meg Rosoff's new novel knows no bounds, it is pure fun, and a perfect summer read. "Ali Baba trout!"
You can take the boy out of the neighborhood but you can't take the neighborhood out of the boy. Kevin Pearce is riding high when he finds out that his story about a local murder has landed him a Pulitzer Prize, but his past is about to be dragged into the open, and it will change everything. This Boston-based crime novel has it all and is perfect for fans of Dennis Lehane.
How far should a wife go to protect her husband when he has been accused of a crime? What happens when she becomes his widow and the press and the police are still at her door? Already a bestseller in England, I enjoyed this debut thriller from journalist Fiona Barton and I will be waiting to read her next.
The world begins again after a flu pandemic wipes out life as we know it. A group of actors and musicians travel in a rusted out truck caravan pulled by horses and perform where they can. It is a strange life, and Emily St. John Mandel makes it beautiful and interesting. I can't believe I just read another dystopian novel and liked it!
Andy Weir's debut novel will remind you of Michael Crichton in his prime. Weir gives you great science, clever likeable characters and a believably taut story of a botanist/engineer, disco hating astronaut left for dead on Mars. Needless to say his character Mark Watney is now My Favorite Martian.
One of my favorite authors opens up again to share more of her life, and I am truly grateful! Kate Braestrup is wise, witty, and wonderful.
One of the books in our Young Adult section that we think more people should read. Time Magazine named it "The Best Novel of 2012" (ahead of Hilary Mantel and J.K. Rowling) calling it "damn near genius". I agree.
In this, her 10th Maisie Dobbs novel, Winspear gives us all that we have come to expect and more. More time with our favorite characters, more insight into British society post-World War I, and more of Maisie as shestruggles to make her way in the world and do what is right by those whom she loves.
Kristin Hannah tackles the tough issues that surround a family when the Mom, a National Guard member, is sent to Iraq. It begins with a marriage in trouble, then got very interesting when the wife was called up for a tour of duty in Iraq. The details of the deployment and what each family member goes through were fascinating. This is when the book finally captured me. I felt it was very realistic and found it quite moving.
I am a big fan of British society dramas and have really enjoyed watching Downton Abbey (which sadly, is an original screenplay by Julian Fellowes and NOT based on a book) so I finally picked up Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. A modern British comedy of manners where the widowed Major Pettigrew loves his little village, but isn't sure he approves of the changes that are in the works. He has developed a friendship with the local shopkeeper, and they share their appreciation for Kipling and good tea. This warm, funny book will keep you reading and is even better with a good cup of tea by your side.
I love this book, set in Montana in 1919, it's full of wonderful characters and beautiful writingEvery book lover should read it for the library scenes alone!
I can't say enough about this exciting read, Susan Casey weaves the research she did into the science of waves with the companionship and thrills she found following around big wave surfer Laird Hamilton and his gang who live in Hawaii but surf wherever the waves are. Like fellow non-fiction writer Bill Bryson, Casey knows how to keep the narrative going and will have you on the edge of you seat till the end of the ride.