We’re on the cusp of the new season next week; one of the final titles touted at BEA arrives along with the first of the winter titles. On the Watch List, Jojo Moyes is poised for a breakout after ten titles and two Romance Novel of the Year awards. Usual suspects include Linda Howard, W.E.B. Griffin and Alexander McCall Smith. In nonfiction, a new bio of General Petraeus focuses on how he changed the military.
Me Before You, Jojo Moyes, (Penguin/Pamela Dorman Books, Thorndike Large Print)
This novel has received kudos on GalleyChat, with one librarian calling it one of her favorite ARC’s of the year. Prolific romance novelist Jojo Moyes is a household name in Great Britain and her U.S. publisher is working to spread that magic here (the cover, which abandons the traditional trappings of a contemporary romance, signals a change in marketing). Independent booksellers picked it as an Indie Next title for January – “If you are looking for a romantic love story that will leave you in happy tears, this is the book for you! Suspend disbelief and immerse yourself in the life of Louisa Clark, who takes a job as a caretaker for a young, wealthy, disabled man. After a rocky start, Lou and Will become close, and Will urges her to expand her horizons and escape from their stifling small town.” It is reviewed in a NYT roundup of new titles this week — “Ms. Moyes’s novel boldly combines a sappy love story with the right-to-die debate.”
The Death of Bees, Lisa O’Donnell, (Harper)
The debut author is profiled in USA Today this week. Her novel is considered notable because, “After rave reviews in Britain, it’s a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick and an Indie Next Great Reads selection.” That Indie Next annotation reads, “Beginning with two children who bury their parents in their garden, The Death of Bees had me hooked from page one. Streetwise teen Marnie and her younger, socially awkward, violin prodigy sister find their parents dead and attempt to cover up their deaths to avoid foster care, with both help and hindrance from some surprising sources. Told from the point of view of multiple characters, this lively, suspenseful, and darkly hilarious tale transfixed me from gruesome start to wonderfully satisfying finish. Brilliant, delightful, and thought provoking!”
Ratlines Stuart Neville, (RH/Soho Crime)
This the last to be released of the titles recommended at this year’s BEA librarians Shout ‘n’ Share panel. Cuyahoga’s Wendy Bartlett says Neville is “really a great writer and one that a lot of people haven’t heard about or read yet. He’s also very articulate, and would be great for an author event.” In this, the author’s fourth novel, Dublin detective Ryan faces a case that tests his love of country. As John F. Kennedy prepares to visit, a series of murders reveals that former Nazis have been living in Ireland, having eluded the Allies via “ratline” escape routes, and been given sanctuary by the Irish government.
Shadow Woman, Linda Howard, (RH/Ballantine; RH Audio; BOT; Thorndike Large Print)
The popular contemporary romantic suspense authors here employs a popular plot device; a woman wakes up and has no idea who she is. The publisher is touting the author’s new branding with “stunning and provocative new covers.”
Empire and Honor, W.E.B. Griffin and William E..Butterworth, (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print)
The seventh title in the Honor Bound series, featuring USMC Maj. Cletus Frade, co-written with Griffin’s son, William E. Butterworth. Says Kirkus, of this post-WWII espionage novel, “Although heavily reliant on exposition, the book provides sufficient back story and works as a stand-alone read. Nothing beats a cinder-block–sized adventure novel on a winter weekend.”
The Wrath of Angels, John Connolly, (Atria/Emily Bestler Books)
The next in the popular Irish author’s series about a private eye with one foot in the standard mystery genre and the other in the supernatural. A plane wreck in the Maine woods yields no bodies, but does contain a list of people who have sold their souls to the devil, unleashing, well, the wrath of angels.
Unusual Uses for Olive Oil, Alexander McCall Smith, (Anchor PBK Original)
Smith last novel featuring the philologist, Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, was At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances (2004). Kirkus feels this character deserves his second billing to Smith’s more popular characters; “Gently but invincibly obtuse, von Igelfeld is too much an elephantine cartoon to inspire the love readers have given Precious Ramotswe and Isabel Dalhousie.” The olive oil? Von Igelfeld uses it to remedy the sticky wheels of a one-legged dachshund’s prosthetic device.
The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, (Hachette/LBYR)
The fourth in the series by the ever-popular actress and her daughter. In this one, Gerry throws herself into creating Valentines. Says Kirkus, “Andrews and Hamilton’s text successfully captures the enthusiastic urgency of their impish protagonist. What truly impresses is Davenier’s ink-and–colored-pencil artwork that vividly portrays Gerry’s every emotion, whether she is over-the-top happy or utterly disappointed.”
The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond, (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio)
The anthropologist and author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, writes in this new book about how people in tribal New Guinea deal with universal issues. Diamond has whetted readers’ appetites with an excerpt in Newsweek magazine about how they handle child rearing (yes, it appears the tribal people of New Guinea, like the French and the Chinese, do it better than we do).
The Insurgents Fred Kaplan, (Simon & Schuster)
Just as Patraeus is fading from news headlines, this assessment of his legacy arrives. Reviewing the book in the NYT this week, Janet Maslin says “The title of The Insurgents is a clever reference to the rebellious, Petraeus-led faction within the American military, not to the guerrilla fighters American soldiers fought abroad. And it is a painstaking, step-by-step account of how these insurgents’ ideas bubbled up into the mainstream.” Don’t look for details on his relationship with Paula Broadwell. Maslin says, “Mr. Kaplan has tacked on a one-page coda” about that indicates”Ms. Broadwell is only one of the miscalculations that an admirable but dangerously unrealistic Mr. Petraeus has made.”
Parker: Movie Tie-in Edition, originally published as Flashfire, Richard Stark, (University Of Chicago Press)
Based on the character featured in 24 novels by Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark, the movie Parker, directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, opens Jan. 25