Wednesday, November 23, 2016

NEW NOVELS: PART 4



What’s new on the fiction shelves of the Monrovia Public Library? The answer: some of the best-reviewed novels this year. Here are titles that indeed tell you that there is something for everyone.

Fan favorite Harlan Coben has a new thriller, the 11th in the Myron Bolitar series. In Home, the author returns to the prized plot device of how a past crime finds a solution in the present. Two boys that were kidnapped years before have been spotted and Bolitar must not only find them but unravel what happened to them. From page one this thriller grabs readers and keeps them focused until the very end.


Author Brit Bennett recently said she wanted to “just depict ordinary black life.” She achieves that in The Mothers, a coming of age novel about a young woman named Nadia who realizes that she is living too many clichés and is looking for a way out. The mothers of the title are numerous and stand in as surrogates for the mother Nadia lost and the mother that Nadia is to become. Beautifully written, this debut novel will captivate readers.


When a travel writer on a cruise ship thinks a woman has been thrown overboard, she desperately discovers that the passengers are accounted for and everyone thinks she is crazy. With a theme right out of Agatha Christie, The Woman in Cabin Ten by Ruth Ware is a page-turning thriller with lots of twists and turns. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

NOVEL IDEAS: PART III


What’s new on the fiction shelves of the Monrovia Public Library? The answer: some of the best-reviewed novels this year. Here are titles that indeed tell you that there is something for everyone.

Borrowing the name from the famous journey that slaves took to freedom Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad is an original look at the same theme. Here the railroad is no metaphor; rather it is a real train that runs underground with stations and conductors. A slave named Cora flees a life of servitude and punishment while avoiding slave catchers. On the way north the story of Cora’s family unravels in a way that describes the history of slavery. This is an incredibly potent book will rattle readers and keep them turning the pages.



Maria Semple hit the literary jackpot a few years ago with her quirky novel Where’d You Go Bernadette about a Seattle-based woman who disappears under darkly humorous circumstances. Ms. Semple is back with Today Will Be Different and once again mines Seattle’s clichés with a satirical look at a woman who finds herself in a rut. Fans of Semple’s first novel will find more pleasure ahead in this new book.

Reader favorite Alexander McCall Smith returns with his 17th title in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.  Heroine Precious Ramotswe and her sidekick Grace Makutsi are back in Precious and Grace, the story of a Canadian woman who is trying to find the woman that helped raise her when she was a child growing up in Botswana. The gentle mystery and its moral lesson are tied up in a big bow of enjoyment.  McCall Smith readers, old and new, will welcome this new title.

Friday, November 18, 2016

NOVEL IDEAS: PART II




What’s new on the fiction shelves of the Monrovia Public Library? The answer: some of the best-reviewed novels this year. Here are titles that indeed tell you that there is something for everyone.

A new Ann Patchett is good reason to cheer as she is a consistently readable author. Her books such as Bel Canto and State of Wonder are popular with individuals and book groups. A native-born Angeleno, she grew up in Nashville, attended the Iowa Writers Workshop and has won many writing awards. Ms. Patchett celebrates books not just by writing them; she also owns a bookstore. Her intriguing new title is Commonwealth, a story of the unexpected—a frequent Patchett theme. A stolen kiss experienced by a new mother at her baby’s christening leads to romance and the break-up of two marriages. When the mother divorces and remarries her one family becomes two and for the next 50 years the two sets of parents and children are linked in a kind of commonwealth, a community of its own. The unusual storyline and interesting characters make this an original family saga.


Bestselling author Jodi Picoult frequently takes on issues in the news. Her novel The Pact is about teen suicide. Picoult calls her new book Small Great Things the most difficult one she has ever written. This is the story of an African American maternity nurse who is forbidden by white supremacist parents from caring for their new born child. When a medical emergency occurs, the nurse intervenes and is later arrested and her license suspended. In court her defender is a white lawyer who does not want race mentioned during the trial. Picoult said her challenge in writing the book was not only presenting overt and covert racism, but to represent the main character in the most accurate and respectful way. The court room scenes are riveting page-turners. Readers will find a lot to like about this thought-provoking and deeply emotional story.