The first week of spring sees the return of several favorite series and the ending of one, Greg Iles’ Natchez Burning trilogy. Peer picks include the story of the first female Pinkerton detective.
The titles highlighted in this column, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of March 20, 2017.
Of the books arriving next week, the holds leader is a LibraryReads pick, Debbie Macomber’s If Not for You (PRH/Ballantine; RH Large Type; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). Macomber is known for her many series, including Cedar Cove, the basis for several Hallmark adaptations. This new title, however, is not part of a series. It is described by the publisher as a “standalone that features linked characters to A Girl’s Guide to Moving On.” That title debuted at #1 on the NYT Hardcover list.
In terms of holds, it is followed closely by C.J. Box’s Vicious Circle (PRH/Putnam; RH Large Print; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample), #17 in the Joe Pickett series. Both PW and Library Journal give it a star. Kirkus adds the accolade “Bracingly familiar pleasures expertly packaged. The two families’ fraught history, tangled enough to fuel a whole season of high-country soap opera, keeps this installment from being the best place to take the initial plunge into the franchise, but first-timers will be intrigued and fans amply rewarded.”
Greg Iles concludes his trilogy with Mississippi Blood (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio). All pre-pub reviews are particularly strong, with Booklist saying, “Iles wraps up his massively ‘s “ambitious Natchez Burning trilogy with a book that is (in keeping with its predecessors) compelling, dark, surprising, and morally ambiguous.” It is also an IndieNext pick.
Grace Notes: My Recollections, Katey Sagal (S&S/Gallery).
Oh no! In her memoir, Katey Sagal reveals that she slept with Gene Simmons (undoubtedly charmed by the fact that he was once a proofreader for Library Journal). The Sons of Anarchy and Married with Children star is set for appearances on ABC’s Nightline, March 20, Good Morning America, March 30, and The View, March 31. The book will also be featured in People magazine.
A Colony in a Nation, Christopher Hayes (Norton; Recorded Books).
The host of MSNBC’s nightly All In with Chris Hayes has a ready platform to promote his new title about racism in America. The focus of this week’s NYT Book Review’s “By The Book” profile, he recommends “Alexander Stille’s fantastic book The Sack of Rome, [PRH/Penguin, trade pbk reprint, 2007] about Silvio Berlusconi, who, in many ways, is the closest analogue you can really find among world leaders to Trump.”
At this point, a gently humorous view of the White House may seem quaintly old-fashioned, but that is what Obama’s former deputy chief of staff offers in this book. People magazine says it’s “brimming with … humorous, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, as well as up-close-and-personal moments with Obama that shed new light on who he is as a leader, man and friend.”
Called “Egypt’s Jon Stewart,” Youssef is a bracing example of what can happen to those who dare to speak truth to power. His show, similar to Stewart’s, was the most popular in Egypt, making him unpopular with the government he satirized. He ended up being arrested and tortured. He was released, but the pressure continued, so he cancelled his show and moved to the US. He appeared last week on the shows of two Stewart alums, Stephen Colbert’s Late Show and Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal.
The only pre-pub review is from Kirkus, which carps, “Youssef is usually funny, though occasionally he slathers on the bile a little too thickly … Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
A documentary about Youssef, Tickling Giants, is also being released in a limited run next week.
Two March LibraryReads picks come out this week:
“High school music teacher, Beth, and tattooed auto mechanic, Sam, are set up by mutual friends, but neither sees a relationship developing. Their mutual disinterest quickly turns into friendship and then develops into much more. Just as their romantic relationship truly begins, Beth’s controlling mother and Sam’s hidden past get in the way and threaten to break them apart. As fans have grown to expect from Macomber, this tale tugs the heartstrings in every direction but is ultimately uplifting. It’s impossible not to fall in love with her characters.” — Jenna Friebel, Oak Park Public Library, Oak Park, IL
Additional Buzz: RT Book Review names it a Top Pick and gives it 4.5 stars, writing “This is a trademark Macomber romance in all the best ways.” As noted above, it arrive to long holds lists.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Lisa See (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio).
“Li-Yan and her family, devote their lives to farming tea. Like her mother, Li-Yan is being groomed to become a midwife in her Chinese village. She yearns for more and is allowed to pursue her schooling. The arrival of outsiders seeking the Pu’er tea of Yunnan brings the modern world into this isolated village. When Li-Yan finds herself alone and pregnant, she leaves her child, wrapped with a tea cake, at an orphanage. Her daughter is adopted by a couple from California, but she is drawn to the study of tea. A sweeping historical novel that juxtaposes ancient China with its modern incarnation.” Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA
Additional Buzz: It is also an April Indie Next Pick. See provides background in her book video.
Four additional Indie Next picks publish this week:
“Our Short History is a letter from a dying woman to her six-year-old son, and it totally shredded me. Yes, it is a sad story. But it is so much more than that. Readers will love the spirit of Karen Neulander. She is smart and thoughtful and fierce, and Jake is squirmy and tough and tender — just like six-year-old boys can be. Lauren Grodstein takes you to the edge of what you can bear, then shows you that strength comes from fragility and that hope still lives in despair.” —Susan Thomas, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY
Additional Buzz: Celeste Ng, Kevin Wilson, and Karen Russell provide blurbs. Both LJ and Booklist star it, with LJ calling it a “heartbreaking, character-driven story.”
Mississippi Blood, Greg Iles (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio).
“Mississippi Blood is the culmination of the Natchez Trilogy, which follows characters who are trying to get to the bottom of brutal Civil Rights-era crimes. Penn Cage watches as the world around him calls into question everything he thinks he knows, including the moral fortitude of his father. Rippling with parallels to our everyday America, Mississippi Blood will, hopefully, push us all to recognize the truths about ourselves and our country.” —Veronica Brooks-Sigler, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA
Additional Buzz: Back in Sept. 2016 Entertainment Weekly was so excited about the conclusion to Iles’s Natchez Burning trilogy that they posted a first look at the cover and a short excerpt. Booklist, LJ, and PW each give it a starred review. PW says “The trial scenes are among the most exciting ever written in the genre.”
“In his second novel, Taylor Brown takes us on a fascinating trip down the Altamaha River. Also called Georgia’s ‘Little Amazon,’ the river is one of the most remote and wild places in the U.S. This is where the Loggins brothers, Hunter and Lawton, grew up with their abusive father. After he dies under mysterious conditions, they decide to kayak down the river to disperse his ashes and try to discover what really happened. Brown combines the story of the brothers’ journey and descriptions of their father’s rough life with a narrative of the 1564 French expedition and settlement at the river’s mouth. Three stories in which nature takes center stage intertwine to give this superb novel an almost mythical dimension.” —Pierre Camy, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI
“This is the tale of a family that has shown remarkable strength in the face of adversity. Kolata does a wonderful job showing us the Baxleys’ joy and heartbreak by chronicling their decisions, their doubts, their fears; the decision to be genetically tested for a devastating illness seemed agonizing and the consequences of living with the outcome even more so. The strength shown by Amanda and the Baxley family made this one of the most amazing stories that I have ever had the privilege to read. I thank them for sharing their story with me; it was truly inspirational.” —Austin Wheeling-Goodson, Burry Bookstore, Hartsville, SC
Additional Buzz: Men’s Journal names it as one of “The 7 Best Books of March.”
Girl in Disguise, Greer Macallister (Sourcebooks Landmark; Recorded Books).
“‘I’m a resourceful and strong young woman, there is no other option.’ That’s the concept behind Greer Macallister’s telling of the real, honest-to-goodness life of Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective. Kate is a widow with no money and no honest prospects, and she is desperate. Her unconventional upbringing taught her flexibility, and, spotting Pinkerton’s ad, she won’t take no for an answer. She is hired as an agent and, having proved her value, is soon hiring and training more female agents and serving as a spy as the U.S. prepares to split apart. Girl in Disguise is a delight: entertaining and a sure nonstop read.” —Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA
After a ten-year absence, the Power Rangers film franchise gets a reboot, with a new movie that opens March 24. Beginning as a FoxKids TV adaptation of a Japanese series in 1993. Power Rangers spun off two films, as well as toys, action figures, apps and video games.
Lionsgate hopes this movie will be the beginning of a new franchise for the studio, to replace Hunger Games, reports Deadline. Therefore, the new film is the Power Rangers origin story about five high schoolers who use newly found superpowers to save the world from an alien invasion. It stars Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Banks.
Power Rangers: The Official Movie Novel, Alexander Irvine (PRH/Penguin Young Readers).
A graphic novel tie-in arrives next week.