New Books

Make Me by Lee Child review – “The reigning champ ups the ante. . . . Yes, there’s breakneck action, but what gives this one its zing is the multilayered plot. . . . The beguiling Chang offers a new treat for series fans as well, and a surprise at the end will keep readers short of breath until the next installment begins.”Booklist (starred review)

The Scam by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg review – This series is absolutely amazing! Its cast of characters range from of course FBI agents to criminals but also everything in between, including a B rated actor that believes that he’s the best and can’t believe that he’s never made it in the big time yet, a retire special forces operative that believes that leaving home without a rocket launcher is a bad as leaving the house undressed, a special effects specialist that makes blowing things up an art form and even a pirate, yes you read that right, a pirate

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler review – “Graceful and capacious . . . Quintessential Anne Tyler, as well as quintessential American comedy. Tyler has a knack for turning sitcom situations into something far deeper and more moving. Her great gift is playing against the American dream, the dark side of which is the falsehood at its heart: that given hard work and good intentions, any family can attain the Norman Rockwell ideal of happiness . . . She’s a comic novelist, and a wise one.”New York Times Book Review

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

“Don’t let ‘Go Set a Watchman’ change the way you think about Atticus Finch…the hard truth is that a man such as Atticus, born barely a decade after Reconstruction to a family of Southern gentry, would have had a complicated and tortuous history with race.” (Los Angeles Times)

Hope to Die by James Patterson review.  It’s no mystery why James Patterson is the world’s most popular thriller writer: his uncanny skill in creating living, breathing characters we truly feel for and seamless, lightning-fast plots. I do this for a living, and he still manages to keep me guessing from the first to last page. Simply put: Nobody does it better.”―Jeffery Deaver

The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom

A Publishers Weekly review by David Black: Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven) has a nose for thin places: places where the boundary between secular and sacred is porous, and ultimate meaning is easier to encounter. In his new novel, Coldwater, Mich., is this thin place, a town where people who have lost loved ones begin receiving phone calls from the dead in heaven. Sully Harding’s wife died while he was in prison, and their young son, Jules, hopes his mom will call, even while Sully smells a hoax. Albom weaves a thread of satire into a narrative braided from the lives of smalltown residents; Coldwater becomes a media hotspot as well as battleground for religious and antireligious zealots, all awaiting the revelation they expect. A historical thread—popping into the narrative like a change-up in baseball—deals with Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone and how the instrument came to be the premier human connector. This brisk, page-turner of a story climaxes at Christmas. Another winner from Albom; this book just about shouts

Traitor’s Gate by Kate Elliott

In Spirit Gate and Shadow Gate, Kate Elliott took readers to the fascinating world of the Hundred, a land teeming with an array of cultures, gods, and conflicts blighted by the shadow of chaos and destruction. Now, with the same intensity and dramatic sweep that has brought this epic to life, Elliott returns to the exquisitely crafted cities and landscapes of the Hundred, in a thunderous conclusion to the saga.

In the darkness of war and destruction, forces gather to reclaim the peace: Those immortal Guardians who still serve justice seek a means to end the devastating reign of one of their own; a hired outlander army struggles to halt the advance of the horde that has despoiled vast lands and slaughtered countless people in its murderous wake, while still guarding against a burgeoning threat from an aggressively expansionist empire; and the eagle reeves who have long been the only law enforcers of the Hundred struggle to reorganize after a devastating massacre has decimated their numbers. But even as these forces give hope to those who would live in peace, a terrible danger looms: a traitor with Imperial ambitions, the most dreaded, least anticipated threat of all…

In the unfolding drama of political upheaval and violent change, nothing is certain, as alliances dissolve and power shifts with the unpredictability of a desert sandstorm. A riotous epic with the vast breadth and excitement only masterful storyteller Kate Elliott can summon, Traitors’ Gate will leave her many readers begging for more.

The Summer Everything Changed by Holly Chambers

At Blueberry Bay Bed and breakfast in Maine, Louise Bessire and her daughter, Isobel, are both anticipating an exciting summer. Louise is hosting an important wedding that could make her business. Isobel is looking forward to writing her style and fashion blog and getting to know charming nineteen-year-old Jeff Otten. As the wedding draws closer, Louise has little time to focus on her daughter. Feeling isolated, especially when her father cancels a long-awaited visit, Isobel falls under Jeff’s dynamic spell, with dangerous results. And soon, mother and daughter must find the courage to overcome unexpected challenges through the strength of their shared bond.

Stillwater by Nicole Helget

A Booklist review by Bridget Thoresen:  With historic forces playing out on a human scale, this novel brings a lyrical voice all its own to midwestern literature. An author recognized for her memoir The Summer of Ordinary Ways (2005), Helget plunges with the force of river rapids into nineteenth-century life on the changing landscape of Minnesota’s wild frontier, with all its hardships. The story revolves around the connection between fraternal twins Clement and Angel, which proves to be both a blessing and a burden throughout their lives among the hardy town and prairie folk. Helget’s writing practically sings with the force of Clement’s aching devotion to his sister and its consequences. The characters’ unique perspectives weave a rich tapestry of the community, replete with religious caretakers, logger barons, and an abolitionist brothel. Throughout, Helget beats the theme of human bondage in ways both obvious and subtle, from runaway slaves to a domineering mother. A well-crafted meditation on bonds and bondage, Stillwater offers an eloquent tribute to the tribulations of those who made their mark on a growing nation. –Bridget Thoreson

Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith

A Booklist review by Deborah Donovan: Smith, author of five thrillers starring FBI Special Agent Ana Grey, here offers a heartfelt glimpse into a little-known episode in U.S. history, the journey taken by mothers of U.S. soldiers fallen in WWI to visit their sons’ graves in Europe. Smith focuses on five mothers whose sons were buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France. Their unofficial leader is Cora Blake, a single mother from Maine. She’s joined by an Irish maid, the wife of an immigrant Russian chicken farmer, a woman who’s been in and out of mental institutions since her son was killed, and a wealthy Boston socialite. Smith deftly spotlights moments along their sojourn, from the giggling fits brought on by the French delicacies they are served on board ship to the tears they shed when confronted by the stark white lines of marble stones where their sons’ remains now lie. Side plots revolve around an American journalist, badly disfigured in the war, who befriends Cora and publishes her story in a French newspaper, and the practice of racially segregating these mothers, even in their grief. Smith’s foray into historical fiction is captivating and enlightening. –Deborah Donovan