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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Swimming Between Worlds by Elaine Neil Orr

Tacker Hart was a golden boy in his home town. A football star who went to college for architecture, he's returned with his tail all but between his legs after he's sent home from a collaborative job in Nigeria. Of course what Tacker hasn't told anyone is that he was sent home after essentially being accused of going native. Now, with no direction and no goal, he's taken over managing one of his father's grocery stores while he tries to figure out what to do next. 

Kate Monroe knew Tacker in high school, everyone did. And when she runs into him in the grocery store, she hopes but doesn't expect to see him again. And when Kate finds old letters revealing a long held secret between her parents, Tacker is the one who offers her comfort. 

But Swimming Between Worlds isn't so much about Tacker and Kate and their relationship as it is about the flux their town is experiencing. Set in North Caroline in the late 50s, Tacker and Kate serve as good examples of a piece of the dynamic affecting the town, and the country, amid growing protest of segregation and separate rights.

Tacker grew comfortable in Nigeria, even wondering if he was more comfortable - and certainly more happy - there than he is at home. And when he witnesses firsthand terrible treatment of a black man in front of his store one morning, he's left wondering why things have to be the way they are.

Kate, meanwhile, is a good example of someone who hasn't really thought much about the circumstances. They are what they are and she hasn't had any reason to ponder over change until Tacker comes into her life.

Elaine Neil Orr's latest is a vivid and vibrant character-driven tale of race relations and change. And thought it's set during the Civil Rights Era, it's certainly still both appropriately eye-opening and thought provoking today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Warning Light by David Ricciardi

Happy book birthday to David Ricciardi whose debut, Warning Light, hits shelves today!

Zac Miller volunteered for Project Snapshot because he thought it would be easy. Relatively, anyway. The plan was to get a plane access into a restricted area so Zac could take a couple of pictures, all the while surrounded (and protected) by the rest of the plan's civilian passengers. But the plan goes awry almost instantly. 

Now Zac, a data analyst with no field training to speak of, is a suspected spy trapped in Iran. What's more, the very people who want him for questioning have made certain that his own people have doubts about him as well, making him the focus of two additional investigations in two more countries. 

Warning Light is fantastic fun! It's a spy origin story and the first in what I'm sure will be a great new series.

So, as mentioned, Zac is a data analyst. His involvement in the mission in question has been from behind a desk only but the agent who was supposed to head out in the field is pulled at the very last minute out of fear he'll be recognized. And timing is key because the area in question has recently been hit by an earthquake that's left massive damage and, coincidentally, the perfect opportunity to take a peek into an area the CIA believes could house nuclear weapons.

So Zac volunteers. Because he's sure it'll be in and out, no problem.

But of course this is a thriller and in and out would mean no plot!

I'll admit there's some amount of predictability in Ricciardi's debut. It is a spy thriller so if our spy is killed right off the bat there again wouldn't be much of a story. So it's expected that Zac will find ways out of tight spots. And though he's not exactly field trained, he does have a (forgive me) certain set of skills that helps him out along the way.

But in spite of the expectation that Zac will come out fairly unscathed, the tension throughout is spot on and the pacing is excellent. The best part, which I also saw coming, is that this is (again as mentioned) an origin story. Zac Miller's first mission in what'll surely be a long string of them (I hope). We get to learn a fair amount about him, his training, and a little of his background, but there's tons to mine for future novels.

It's appropriate that Lee Child blurbed the book - Zac may not be as experienced or even as suave as Reacher, but fans of that series are absolutely going to love David Ricciardi and Zac Miller!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Releases 4/17/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Before Mars by Emma Newman

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

The Elizas by Sara Shepard

The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

Noir by Christopher Moore

Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller

The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay

Head On by John Scalzi

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Ansten

New on DVD:
The Post
The Commuter
Humor Me

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Nightingale by Amy Lukavics

Readers, Amy Lukavics has a brand new book coming out just in time for Halloween. Squee!

Here's a bit about Nightingale from Goodreads:

At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women…

June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think this sounds completely amazing and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

Nightingale is due out from Harlequin Teen in late September. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

The House on Harbor Hill by Shelly Stratton

It's Friday! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Shelly Stratton's latest, The House on Harbor Hill!

Delilah Grey makes a habit of taking in boarders who need help. She picks them carefully, ensuring they're the right person, and helps them get back on their feet. Her latest, Tracey Walters. And Delilah's offer couldn't have come at a more perfect time for Tracey. 

After leaving her husband, Tracey has run out of money. Her landlord is done granting favors and she needs to find a new place to live. But the note from Delilah Grey sparks confusion and worry for Tracey, especially when she learns about Delilah's clouded past. 

In spite of that, Tracey, out of options, does decide to take Delilah up on her offer. Through friendship and support, Tracey finally starts to make progress at a new life. But when her past comes calling, her new haven could become a danger to them all. 

I loved this book and these characters so much!

First of all, this is the story of Tracey, trying to start a new life away from her abusive husband. Struggling to make ends meet and still provide for her family, she's done everything she can and still feels like she's falling short. So the note from Delilah Grey really does come at the perfect time.

Delilah's latest boarder has just moved on and, haunted by the ever deriding voice of her dead husband, she's ready to welcome someone new to her home. But Delilah's past hangs over her in more ways than that voice and even thought she was acquitted of murder, the locals who remember still hold it over her.

The story is told from both Delilah and Tracey's perspectives and transitions easily between the present and Delilah's past (1960 to be exact).

The mystery of Delilah's husband's murder is a large part of the tale as well, adding suspense to an already tense story. While I may have been slightly more partial to her as a character and her overall story, both women are beautifully wrought and hold their own, making the overall book well balanced and easy to sink into.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Shelly Stratton and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Worth Killing For by Jane Haseldine

Happy Wednesday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Jane Haseldine's latest Julia Gooden mystery, Worth Killing For.

A politician's nephew has been murdered and Julia Gooden is tasked with covering the story. An investigative reporter, Julia can't help but dig into the mystery surrounding the murder of Angel Perez, especially when evidence seems to support a serial killer who's been long silent. 

But her latest story is hampered by the realization that her con man father has returned to Detroit. Not only does his return leave a bad taste, so to speak, it brings up memories of a mystery much closer to home - the disappearance of her own brother. 

As it turns out, this new murder may be connected in some way and may finally offer Julia some closure. But her father's return also means Julia is a target of the very people he made enemies of so long ago. 

Interestingly enough, Worth Killing For is the third in the Julia Gooden series. Considering I was unfamiliar with the books, it's a good thing this latest makes for an easy starting point!

Julia is a tough as nails reporter - she'd have to be to have come out of the disaster of a childhood she grew up in. Her own sister wasn't so lucky and the disappearance of her brother has haunted her all these years.

When you add together the mystery of Ben's disappearance - the coldest of cold cases where one of the main witnesses (Julia herself) has literally no memory of the crime - with the bizarre beginning of the book, you have the makings of a gripping story.

And the book begins with a bang. Angel Perez is a college student struggling to make ends meet before he gets his degree. The degree means a good job with his uncle and he's just months from finishing, but in the meantime he and his pregnant girlfriend rely on any work Angel can get. Which is why he's waiting outside the home improvement store before it's even open, hoping to get picked for day labor. Unfortunately, Angel's luck has truly run out.

Figuring out the motive for a criminal whose tactics are... bizarre, to say the least, is part of the intrigue and the draw of this book. The rest is Julia!

Again, this is the third in the series but does work well as a stand alone. My understanding is that the series opener delves a bit more into Julia's past and specifically the fact that she's unable to remember what happened when Ben was abducted. If you want to start from the beginning, the series in order, so far, is:

The Last Time She Saw Him
Duplicity
Worth Killing For

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Jane Haseldine and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

New Releases 4/10/18

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

One Way by S. J. Morden

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valenti

Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde

Circe by Madeline Miller

A Lady's Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen

Macbeth by Jo Nesbø

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Flying at Night by Rebecca L. Brown

Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist

New on DVD:
Molly's Game
Proud Mary
All the Money in the World
The Greatest Showman
Phantom Thread