|LBJ Library Mailbox (image source)|
I'm currently reading the first volume of Robert Dallek's outstanding biography of Lyndon Johnson, Lone Star Rising: Vol 1: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960. This, of course, requires an LBJ mailbox. This is a fascinating book about a fascinating and tragic man, although I will admit that when my Kindle Paperwhite reports that it's a 20-hour read it's a bit intimidating!
I got various kinds of things this past week and time to actually do some blog writing so I'm sharing. All books came from publishers, literary agents, or literary PR agencies.
The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne. An eight-year-old boy is found dead in a playground . . . and his eleven-year-old neighbor is accused of the crime. Leading the defense is London solicitor Daniel Hunter, a champion of lost causes. A damaged boy from a troubled home, Daniel's young client, Sebastian, reminds Daniel of his own turbulent childhood--and of Minnie, the devoted woman whose love saved him. But one terrible act of betrayal irrevocably shattered their bond. As past and present collide, Daniel is faced with disturbing questions. Will his sympathy for Sebastian and his own memories blind him to the truth? What happened in the park--and who, ultimately, is to blame for a little boy's death? Rethinking everything he's ever believed, Daniel begins to understand what it means to be wrong . . . and to be the guilty one.
The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan. Menina Walker was a child of fortune. Rescued after a hurricane in South America, doomed to a life of poverty with a swallow medal as her only legacy, the orphaned toddler was adopted by an American family and taken to a new life. As a beautiful, intelligent woman of nineteen, she is in love, engaged, and excited about the future ? until another traumatic event shatters her dreams. Menina flees to Spain to bury her misery in research for her college thesis about a sixteenth-century artist who signed his works with the image of a swallow ? the same image as the one on Menina's medal. But a mugging strands Menina in a musty, isolated Spanish convent. Exploring her surroundings, she discovers the epic sagas of five orphan girls who were hidden from the Spanish Inquisition and received help escaping to the New World. Is Menina's medal a link to them, or to her own past? Did coincidence lead her to the convent, or fate?
The Fort by Aric Davis. During the waning summer days of 1987, a deranged Vietnam vet stalks Grand Rapids, Michigan, abducting and murdering nameless victims from the streets, leaving no leads for police. That is, until he picks up sixteen-year-old Molly. From their treehouse fort in the woods, three neightborhood boys spy the killer holding a gun to Molly’s back, they go to the police—only to have their story disregarded. But the boys know evil lives in their midst. A growing sense of honor and urgency forces the boys to take action—to find Molly, to protect themselves, to stand guard for the last long days of summer. At turns heartbreaking and breathtakingly thrilling, The Fort perfectly renders a coming-of-age story in the 1980s, in those final days of childhood independence, discovery, and paradise lost.
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. Charlie Manx burned a man to death in his black 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith, but that’s not the worst of it. Rumor has it that he kidnapped dozens of children, taking them to a place he calls “Christmasland.” The only child ever to escape was a very lucky girl named Victoria McQueen. Vic has a gift – she can ride her bike through the Shorter Way bridge and she’ll come out the other side wherever she needs to be, even if it’s hundreds of miles away. Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her ability; no one would understand. When Charlie Manx finally dies after years in prison, his body disappears...after the autopsy. The police and media think someone stole it, but Vic knows the truth: Charlie Manx is on the road again...and he has her kid. And this time, Vic McQueen’s going after him...
The Secret Life of a Submissive by Sarah K. Sarah K has a secret. By day she’s a writer and level-headed single mother; by night she’s a submissive, surrendering herself to forbidden delights. But will she perform the most illicit act of all – falling in love?
The Missing File by D.A. Mishant. Crimes in Avraham’s quiet suburb are generally not all that complex. But when a sixteen-year-old boy goes missing and a schoolteacher offers up a baffling complication, Avraham finds himself questioning everything he thought he knew about his life.
In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve. Shortly before daybreak in War, West Virginia, a passing train derails and spills an avalanche of coal over sixteen-year-old Emma Palmisano's house, trapping her sleeping family inside. The year is 1924, and the remote mines of Appalachia have filled with families like Emma's immigrant laborers building new lives half a world away from the island of Sicily. Emma awakes in total darkness, to the voice of a railroad man, Caleb Sypher, digging her out from the suffocating coal. From his pocket he removes two spotless handkerchiefs and tenderly cleans Emma's bare feet. Though she knows little else about this railroad man, Emma marries him a week later, and Caleb delivers her from the gritty coal camp to thirty-four acres of pristine Virginia mountain farmland.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.
Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French. In Tuesday’s Gone, a London social worker makes a routine home visit only to discover her client, Michelle Doyce, serving afternoon tea to a naked, decomposing corpse. With no clues as to the dead man’s identity, Chief Inspector Karlsson again calls upon Frieda for help. She discovers that the body belongs to Robert Poole, con man extraordinaire. But Frieda can’t shake the feeling that the past isn’t done with her yet. Did someone kill Poole to embroil her in the investigation? And if so, is Frieda herself the next victim?
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma. From as early as he can remember, the hopelessly unreliable—yet hopelessly earnest—narrator of this ambitious debut novel has wanted to become a writer. From the jazz clubs of Manhattan to the villages of Sri Lanka, Kristopher Jansma’s irresistible narrator will be inspired and haunted by the success of his greatest friend and rival in writing, the eccentric and brilliantly talented Julian McGann, and endlessly enamored with Julian’s enchanting friend, Evelyn, the green-eyed girl who got away. After the trio has a disastrous falling out, desperate to tell the truth in his writing and to figure out who he really is, Jansma’s narrator finds himself caught in a never-ending web of lies.
The Plantagenets by Dan Jones. The first Plantagenet king inherited a blood-soaked kingdom from the Normans and transformed it into an empire stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic history, Dan Jones vividly resurrects this fierce and seductive royal dynasty and its mythic world. We meet the captivating Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; her son, Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and King John, a tyrant who was forced to sign Magna Carta, which formed the basis of our own Bill of Rights. This is the era of chivalry, of Robin Hood and the Knights Templar, the Black Death, the founding of Parliament, the Black Prince, and the Hundred Year’s War.
Angel Wings by Howard Kaminsky. As a veteran member of the Providence police department's elite homicide squad, Detective Danny Martell has seen his fair share of dead bodies. But he's never seen anything quite like this. Women around the city are being brutally murdered, their dead faces elaborately made up and fabric angel wings attached to their lifeless bodies. The attacks are immediately dubbed the Angel Murders. Yet it doesn't take long for the deadly crime wave to drag Danny into his own personal hell? Because soon after the killings begin, Danny's wife, Linda, abruptly disappears. And when his worst fears are realized, a grief-stricken Danny redoubles his efforts to hunt down the deranged serial killer. But is Linda just another random angel? Or is she the victim of a copycat killer with a vendetta against Danny?
Bolero by Joanie McDonnell. Bolero introduces Nick Sayler, the private investigator who lives aboard a Hudson River barge with a brilliant savant, a retired psychiatrist and a stunning Creole girl. But Sayler's haunted by memories of the woman who took a bullet meant for him, so his good life is belied by a bad drinking habit. Then an emergency room doctor's desperate call about a ballerina with no memory and nothing on her except his card, changes everything. If he can dip into his notorious past to uncover the secret that will save the dancer, maybe he can finally save himself.
Now it's your turn to