Week of May 31st, 2021
Action! Humor! Fantasy! This new series opener is a tour de force from international bestseller Jonathan Stroud.
Scarlett McCain is an outlaw, a bank robber and a sharp shooter--a girl of formidable skills. Fueled by a tragic injustice in her past, she travels the broken kingdoms of England alone, carrying out daring heists in the surviving towns and fending off monstrous beasts in the wilds outside their fortified walls. Her life is dangerous, free, and simple--until she finds a wrecked bus on a lonely road. Albert Browne, the sole survivor of the accident, is a seemingly innocent and harmless youth. Against her better judgement, Scarlett agrees to escort him to safety.
This is a mistake. They are soon pursued by men with dogs and guns and explosives. Scarlett is used to running from the law, but these trackers are the most skilled she's ever encountered--and they don't seem to be after her. Just who is this Albert Browne Scarlett must uncover his shocking secrets if either of them are going to survive.
New Stroud has me so excited! His Lockwood & Co. series still remains one of my all-time favorites.
The Lost Boys of Montauk: The True Story of the Wind Blown, Four Men Who Vanished at Sea, and the Survivors They Left Behind by Amanda M. Fairbanks [Purchase]
Expected publication: May 25th 2021 by Gallery Books
The Southern Side of Paradise (Peachtree Bluff #3) by Kristy Woodson Harvey [Purchase]
Expected publication: May 25th 2021 by Pocket Books
From the New York Times bestselling author of This Time Next Year comes a heartwarming and hilarious tale that asks: What if you pick up the wrong suitcase in an airport, only to fall head over heels for its unseen owner?
Laura's business trip to the Channel Islands isn't exactly off to a great start. After unceremoniously dumping everything in her bag in front of the most attractive man she's ever seen in real life, she arrives at her hotel only to realize she's grabbed the wrong suitcase from the airport. Her only consolation? The irresistibly appealing contents of the case: a copy of her favorite book; piano music; and a rugged, heavy knit fisherman sweater only a Ryan Gosling lookalike could pull off. The owner of this suitcase is Laura's dream man--she's sure of it. Now, all she has to do is find him.
The mix-up seems written in the stars. After all, what are the odds that she'd find The One on the same remote island where her mom and dad had first fallen in love, especially as she sets out to write an article about their epic romance? Commissioning surly cab driver Ted to ferry her around seems like her best bet in both tracking down the mystery suitcase owner and retracing her parents' footsteps. And if beneath Ted's gruffness lies a wit that makes their cab rides strangely entertaining, so much the better. But as Laura's long-lost luggage soulmate proves difficult to find--and as she realizes that the love story she's held on a pedestal all her life might not have been that perfect--she'll have to rethink her whole outlook on love to discover what she really wants.
I thoroughly enjoyed Cousens’ This Time Next Year and this one sounds all sorts of cute.
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Hunting Wives by May Cobb
The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.
Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.
Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.
When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.
“…the pool was the first place I saw her. A week later, she was dead.”
Tired of the hustle and bustle of Chicago life, Sophie and her husband move their young son to the town of Mapleton, Texas in the hopes of creating a simpler life. Sophie becomes a stay-at-home mom, hoping to be the kind of mom that she never had, to her son and she spends her free time writing blog posts and sharing snippets of her life on Instagram. This quiet life that she thought she wanted begins to take on a dull sheen but then Sophie becomes engrossed in a local socialite named Margot Banks who invites her to become a part of The Hunting Wives.
“It wasn’t envy, though; I didn’t want to be her. It was so much more than that. I wanted to be near her. For her to notice me, too. The idea of it took my breath away. It became powerful and even consuming.”
I was drawn to the very Desperate Housewives meets Real Housewives sound this book had and I got to say, it pretty much fits the bill. The Hunting Wives consists of Callie, Jill, Tina, and of course Margot, their de facto leader. None of these women are exactly likable but they’re certainly interesting. They love drinking, shooting guns, and men… and not necessarily in that order. When Sophie is invited to Margot’s lake house to have some drinks and shoot some skeet, she’s intrigued by these wild women that don’t seem to have a care in the world but doing what they want to do. After the past months where she only had herself for company, being around these women makes Sophie realize just how stifled she really was. Each new night she spends with them, the wilder they get, but when a local teenager turns up murdered, the excitement comes to a dead stop.
The Hunting Wives starts out as a tale of suburban ennui but shifts gears into a murder mystery without missing a beat. It was undeniably one wild ride.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake (Winner Bakes All #1) by Alexis Hall [Purchase]
Expected publication: May 18th 2021 by Forever
When a family obsessed with true crime gathers to bury their patriarch, horrifying secrets are exposed upon the discovery of another body in his grave in this chilling novel from the author of Behind the Red Door and The Winter Sister.
At twenty-six, Dahlia Lighthouse has a lot to learn when it comes to the real world. Raised in a secluded island mansion deep in the woods and kept isolated by her true crime-obsessed parents, she has spent the last several years living on her own, but unable to move beyond her past—especially the disappearance of her twin brother Andy when they were sixteen.
With her father’s death, Dahlia returns to the house she has avoided for years. But as the rest of the Lighthouse family arrives for the memorial, a gruesome discovery is made: buried in the reserved plot is another body—Andy’s, his skull split open with an ax.
Each member of the family handles the revelation in unusual ways. Her brother Charlie pours his energy into creating a family memorial museum, highlighting their research into the lives of famous murder victims; her sister Tate forges ahead with her popular dioramas portraying crime scenes; and their mother affects a cheerfully domestic façade, becoming unrecognizable as the woman who performed murder reenactments for her children. As Dahlia grapples with her own grief and horror, she realizes that her eccentric family, and the mansion itself, may hold the answers to what happened to her twin.
Katharine Parr, the Sixth Wife (Six Tudor Queens #6) by Alison Weir [Purchase]
Expected publication: May 11th 2021 by Ballantine Books
Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry by Jason Schreier [Purchase]
Expected publication: May 11th 2021 by Grand Central Publishing
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong.
Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.
That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.
Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.
Of This River by Noah Davis | Published August 1st 2020 by Wheelbarrow Books
Of This River is an impressive debut collection of poetry with a distinct Appalachian theme. Noah Davis is one to watch.
This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens | Published December 1st 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
An adorable story of missed chances that is full of convenient coincidences but will still manage to melt even the hardest of hearts.
Highway Blue by Ailsa McFarlane | Expected publication: May 18th 2021 by Hogarth Press
This book lacked a pulse. The plot seemed to meander despite the intriguing blurb, the characters were one-dimensional, and the ending only gave the guise of a resolution.
Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella | Published October 27th 2020 by Dial Press
I think I quit this book faster than the main character’s date did after she started talking about butternut squash soup having a soul on their first date.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan | Published February 2nd 2021 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
While I’m clearly not the targeted reader for this novel, I love the occasional Middle Grade and I’m always up for anything by Levithan. This story felt like an ode to The Chronicles of Narnia but one that never really went anywhere and I just wanted more from this fun concept of a story.
Broken (In the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson | Published April 6th 2021 by Henry Holt and Co.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened remains one of my favorite books of all time, however, Broken was a massive disappointment. I’m not sure if Lawson’s sense of humor changed (or mine) but I found her antics to be far more preposterous than entertaining.
Astrid Sees All by Natalie Standiford | Published April 6th 2021 by Atria Books
This was recommended for fans of Fleabag and this couldn’t be further off base. I personally loved Fleabag because of the realness and how darkly comedic it is and honestly, this book didn’t possess a single funny bone in its pages. It was dreary and pretentious and none of the characters left any semblance of an impression on me.
The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories by Kevin Brockmeier | Published March 9th 2021 by Pantheon Books
I’ve developed a taste for short stories only recently, but flash fiction is something different entirely. There simply wasn’t enough substance in any of these snippets to keep me invested.
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy | Published August 4th 2020 by Flatiron Books
Migrations is definitely your standard literary fare full of fanciful descriptions and an oftentimes hard-to-follow storyline that likes to bounce between the present day and flashbacks. I don’t think I was in the right mood to try this one (or if I honestly even possess a mood that is “right” for reading literary fiction.)
We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper | Published November 10th 2020 by Grand Central Publishing
I got major I’ll Be Gone in the Dark vibes from this true crime tale, but I’m not sure I mean that as a compliment. There’s an exceptional amount of information regarding the investigation within these pages, however, once I discovered that this case was actually solved in 2018 it made me wonder why the story seemed to have been written as if this wasn’t knowledge the author possessed. I’m unclear when the author started writing this story, but I felt like at the very least an addendum could have been added prior to publication.