Start off the new year with an interesting variety of new releases. Mystery, suspense, heart-warming family wisdom, romance and humor are included in this group of recommendations. As always with a variety pack, start with your favorite flavor.
1. The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
In a southern California college town a freshman stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep and doesn’t wake up. When her roommate can’t wake her, she calls 911. No one at the hospital can wake her. Then two more girls fall asleep and don’t wake up. Panic spreads from the college to the town and the streets descend into chaos.
Doctors discover those affected by the illness are showing unprecedentedly high levels of brain activity.
“The Dreamers is harrowing, riveting, profoundly moving, and beautifully written. In a word, this book is stunning.”—Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
2. The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
While, 96-year-old Doris lives alone in Stockholm and has few visitors, she enjoys her weekly Skype calls with her American grandniece Jenny. These calls remind her of her youth.
Doris still has the address book her father gave her when she was a girl and she’s used it to record everyone she’s met. While looking through the address book, Doris decides to write down the stories of her colorful past – working as a maid in Sweden, modeling in Paris, escaping to Manhattan at the beginning of WWII and the love of her life. She hopes these stories will help Jenny unlock her family’s secrets and move on with her life.
“Written with love, told with joy. Very easy to enjoy.” —Fredrik Backman, author of A Man Called Ove
“A warm and tender story about life, memories, and the power of love and friendship. A novel with heart and humor!” —Katarina Bivald, author of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
3. The Widows by Jess Montgomery
“In Kinship, OH, 1924, Lily Ross’s husband, Daniel, is killed in the line of duty as sheriff. The griefstricken Lily grapples with unanswered questions and her new duties as acting sheriff. Her sorrow is compounded by the sudden appearance of Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner’s widow, who shares a past with Daniel and whose daughter, Eula, is currently missing. An unlikely pair, underestimated by everyone, Lily and Marvena navigate Daniel’s secrets, investigate Eula’s disappearance, dodge conflicting loyalties among the moonshine distributors, and bond over their shared loss as the tension between the coal miners and mine owners escalates. On the edge of discovering the truth, they suffer one final, mutual betrayal, which propels them toward a series of clever and emotionally satisfying solutions.
“Verdict: Inspired by the true story of Maude Collins, Ohio’s first female sheriff, and prominent labor and community organizer Mary Harris ‘Mother’ Jones, Montgomery’s debut novel features two tough-as-nails, strong-willed women whose empathy leaves a lasting impression. A simultaneous examination of women’s rights, coal mining, prohibition, and Appalachian life, make this is a fantastic choice for historical fiction fans.” —Library Journal
“The Widows kept me on the edge of my seat. Jess Montgomery is a masterful storyteller. This is a novel about courage and the good hearts of women, and it builds, almost unbearably, to its stunning end.”―Lee Martin, author of the Pulitzer Prize Finalist The Bright Forever
4. Elsey Come Home by Susan Conley
Elsey visits to a yoga retreat on a mountain in China at her husband’s urging. He’s trying to help her get back on track. Elsey packs a lot of emotional baggage as she’s torn between being a good parent and her art career. She’s also struggling to admit she’s been using alcohol to cope. While looking forward to the yoga and day of silence, Elsey dreads the retreat’s talking circle even though it seems ripe for a Saturday Night Live skit.
She spends the next year unpacking memories and lessons from the retreat. Storytelling becomes a process for healing.
“Elsey Come Home is a triumph, a book of powerful women and even more powerful tradition. Contemporary China comes vividly to life alongside American friendships, family, and fortune good and bad–love and illness, pleasure and addiction, connection and misunderstanding, brittle trips back home. I love Susan Conley’s sentences–spare but lyrical, hard-edged but melodic, not a word extra, a story so big no Talking Circle could ever contain it.”—Bill Roorbach, author of The Remedy of Love and The Girl of the Lake
5. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Darcy has loved Tom Valeska since she was eight years old. The only problem is that he is best friends with Darcy’s twin brother, Jaime. Tom is 99 percent loyal to Jamie, which makes him off limits to Darcy.
Well into adulthood, Darcy decides it’s time to claim more than 1 percent of Tom’s heart. While Tom focuses on helping Darcy and Jamie renovate the house they recently inherited, Darcy focuses on winning Tom’s love.
“A brilliant, biting, hilarious new voice.”— Kristan Higgins, author of Good Luck With That