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Kerry’s Fiction Picks

Syndetics book coverThe Moon Sisters
It was the delightful cover that drew me to this one, however the story is anything but pretty and light.  It’s about the relationship bewteen two sisters whose lives are thrown into turmoil after the suicide of their mother.  Both sisters are very different from one another, with different approaches to life and struggle, and that’s where the trouble begins.  The free-spirited sister Jazz decides to travel to an unknown town to lay her mother’s remains to rest.  Her logical and sensible sister Olivia thinks this is a foolish quest, wanting to just get on with her life.  This is a complex and atmospheric emotional drama – looks good!

 Syndetics book cover
Cairo affair
Wow, this one sounds exciting!  Espinonage, romance, drama, set in Egypt.  With the CIA, assassinations, secrets and love affirs.  It’s about the shooting of an American diplomat in Hungary and the repercussions from this, leading all the way to Cairo.  And then it starts to get complicated.  Described as a ‘spy procedural’ and John Le Carre-esque.  It was an ‘Amazon Best Book of the Month’ in March.

Kerry’s Fiction Picks

This week I’ve chosen two new New Zealand fiction titles.  Although they’re due fairly soon, they’re not on the shelves ready to be taken out yet. You can either keep an eye out for when they make it to the shelves or you can reserve them now.

Syndetics book coverPurgatory
Rosetta Allan is an Auckland based writer, who has already published two books of poetry.  This is her first work of fiction and it is a ghost story of sorts.  John Finnegan was murdered, along with his brothers and mother, and they were buried in the family’s garden.  They are all stuck there to watch life unfold around them, including the life of their murderer James Stack.  (The story is based on the gruesome true crime that occured in Otahuhu in 1865).  I think it sounds great!

Syndetics book coverConfessions of a terrorist
Richard Jackson is a bit of an expert on terrorism - he’s Deputy Director at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University and has written several academic books about terrorism.  This is also his first work of fiction.  It’s a gripping psychological thriller centred around a terrorist and his interrorgator, a British intelligence officer.  Looks good, and Jackson’s knowledge of the subject lends it a depth and drama.

Kerry’s Fiction Picks

Just one pick this week (which is not to say there isn’t heaps of great, new fiction being ordered!) I couldn’t resist mentioning this book, it looked too good to pass over and I knew it would be greatly enjoyed by Downton Abbey fans.

Syndetics book coverTyringham Park
“On the grand Irish estate of Tyringham Park, Lady Edwina Blackshaw discovers her two- year-old daughter, Victoria, is missing. While everyone is searching, Charlotte, her eight-year-old daughter, is with her nanny, Dixon. Lord Waldron is in London at the war office and cannot be spared. What quickly comes to light in this masterful first novel is that nothing is as it seems. Edwina is a terrible wife and mother; Waldron is an alcoholic; Dixon is cruel beyond words; and Charlotte . . . well, Charlotte is damaged more than anyone knew, desperate for love but unable to see it when it comes. The tale spans from 1917 to 1943 and covers fox hunts, balls, art exhibitions, and sojourns in Australia. The mystery of Victoria is ever present and just when the reader thinks it is solved, it isn’t. Told in a dispassionate voice with rich descriptions and brilliant characters, the story holds the reader’s interest to the last page, with more than enough twists and turns.” (Booklist).

Kerry’s Fiction Picks

‘New adult’ is a new genre of fiction I’ve been hearing about lately.  It tends to be relationship, social-life focused fiction aimed at twenty-somethings or young adults, but too racy for our Young Adult collections.  I would call it an erotica-chick lit hybrid.  Let’s take a look at some of these new emerging adult books.

Syndetics book coverBe With Me
J Lynn is a big name in this genre and we have a few of her New Adult books (Wait for You and Trust in Me, ebooks too in our Overdrive elibrary) . She also writes as Jennifer Armentrout, of the Lux Young Adult series.  Be With Me follows Theresa Hamilton who “is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, life-changing kiss” (Amazon.com).  The brother’s best friend and the story’s other protagonist is Jase Winstead who has a “huge secret that he’s not telling anyone—especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister.  Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority” (Amazon.com).   And there you go!  We learn of their tumultuous fledgling relationship and the mega-drama that ensues.  Literary it’s not, but a jolly fun read it is.

Syndetics book coverSweet thing
This is a similar love, finding-one’s-self story.  It’s about Ivy League graduate and musician Mia Kelly, who’s unsure about what career to pursue – music or business.  Mia finds herself even more confused when her father dies and she decides to take over his cafe.  The cafe is a frequent hangout for musicians and there Mia meets Will.  Sexy, romance follows.  The characters are enjoyable and the story well written (this is no 50 Shades of Grey).

Overdrive cover Sound Bites, by Rachel K Burke (eBook)
This book is available as an ebook from the Overdrive elibrary.  It’s recommended for fans of J Lynn and follows the same story as those above – a young woman with relationship woes, troubled bad-boy musicians and LOVE.  A fun, slightly predictable, contemporary romance.

Kerry’s Fiction Picks

Just two quick choices for this week!

Syndetics book coverWhat I Had Before I Had You
This is a complex and literary novel about families, parents, mental illness, memories and love. Olivia Reed is a mother who returns home to the Jersey Shore after leaving years ago as a teenager. She brings her two children to meet her own mother, a troubled psychic. While there, Olivia’s bipolar son goes missing and as the story unfolds she is forced to confront her own childhood and past. This is Sarah Cornwell’s first novel, and it has been very well reviewed – described by Publishers Weekly as “a multigenerational coming-of-age story”.

Syndetics book coverThe Last Dead Girl
This is a prequel to Harry Dolan’s ‘Bad Things Happen’, featuring the character David Malone (Loogan).  In this book he meets a young woman named Jana and they spend ten days together.  Of course, she ends ends up brutally murdered.  And, of course, he becomes a suspect.  From there Malone decides to try find her killer, which is not as straightfoward as it sounds as Jana works with an organisation helping free those wrongly accused of murder.  This book has been similarly well reviewed and though the story seems simple (or obvious), the writing, characters and suspenseful plot make it more than worthwhile.

Kerry’s Fiction Picks

Three debuts for you this week.

Syndetics book coverLove like blood
Marcus Sedgwick is a popular and acclaimed teen fiction writer.  This is his first novel for adults and it’s about blood.  Yes, blood.  But not in a Twilight-esque vampire novel way, more a scary, thrilling, moral tale way.  Set in 1944 it follows a young captain in the Royal Army Medical Corp who walks in on a man who he believes to be drinking the blood of a murdered woman – yikes.  The young captain later becomes a haematologist and haunted by what he thought he saw in 1944, decides to return to the scene and investigate.  I’ll leave it at that!

Syndetics book coverDelicious!
On a completely different note is this lovely fictional book for foodies.  Ruth Reichl is the former editor of Gourmet magazine and this is her fiction debut.  She gives us a fascinating, insider’s look at how things work at a food magazine.  It’s set at Delicious magazine where young Billie is working when the magazine shuts down.  She gets to stay on, working on a project, when she discovers the locked library and some love letters written during WWII.  Billie sets off on a mission to find the writer of the letters - and finds herself along the way.

Syndetics book coverLook who’s back.
This is the debut novel for Timur Vermes, a former journalist from Germany, who’s chosen a controversial subject – Hitler.  (I think the great cover gives that away!)  In 2011 Hitler wakes up and discovers that the war is over, he’s alive and things are very, very different now.  The story is satirical and aims at unpicking the personality cult around Hitler (and celebrity in general).  A bestseller in Germany, it has received a mixed response from critics (as you might imagine – read a bit about it here).

Kerry’s Fiction Picks

Hi everyone, I’m one of the fiction selectors for Wellington City Libraries. I spend a lot of time reading about, and choosing, lovely new fiction for you to enjoy. This week I’ve chosen some literary, critically-loved fiction, packed with a punch.
(Remember these books aren’t ’shelf ready’, but they are due to be published in the next six months. And they are on the catalogue, available to reserve).

Syndetics book coverThis dark road to mercy.
“Cash’s second novel, after his successful debut, A Land More Kind Than Home, does not disappoint. Twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are caught in the foster care system in Gastonia, NC. Having signed away his legal custodial rights, their erstwhile father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player, has always said he would take care of them. One night he spirits them away from the one stable home the girls have known. Add to this mix a thug looking for Wade, owing to some missing money. Luckily the girls have someone on their side: Brady Weller, a court-appointed guardian who begins to look for them.”   This review from the Library Journal best explains this interesting new novel, which has been described as similar to Cormac McCarthy and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Syndetics book coverDry Bones
This was recommended by our head cataloguer, who only reads the best, most intelligent, literary fiction.  It’s topic is also quite timely too – covering the end of World War II (well, timely in that it’s been 100 years since the start of WWI and 70 years since D-Day).  It follows two soldiers on an ill-fated OSS (Office of Strategic Services – US intelligence agency) misson to the Eastern Front.  The soldiers uncover a secret and have to deal with the consequences and the developing world of Cold War espionage.

Syndetics book coverThe Winter People
This one’s a sophisticated ghost story / supernatural thriller – what could be better!  I have to confess the plot sounds a bit confusing to me – a ninteenth century woman tries to bring her murdered daughter back to life, dies a tragic death and then there’s some black magic and evil spirits that continue to haunt her hometown and the current occupiers of her house.  Perhaps you’ll have to take my word for it when I say it sounds great!  (Or read this review).

Kerry’s Fiction Picks – ebook special

I thought I’d mention some new ebooks this week.   (Ebooks that are new to our Overdrive collection, on our eLibrary page.  Free to reserve don’t forget!)

Overdrive cover Ancestry, by Albert Wendt (eBook)
We all read ‘The Luminairies’ over the summer break, right? Now it’s time to discover some more wonderful New Zealand literature. Huia Publishing has joined our ebook supplier Overdrive. This means we’ve been able to add some great new-to-us New Zealand fiction ebooks to our elibrary – such as Albert Wendt’s 2012 short story collection ‘Ancestry’. Check out other Huia titles HERE.

Overdrive cover A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, by Eimear McBride (eBook)
Speaking of award winning fiction, a-la-The Luminairies, ‘A Girl is a Half Formed Thing’ is now available as an ebook in our Overdrive elibrary.  Author Eimear McBride is another young woman storming the literary guard (she’s in her 30s).  This book won the Goldsmiths Prize and is a bit of a critics fave (‘instant classic’ according to The Guardian).  Written in a very different style, almost stream of consciousness, and with a simple yet compelling topic (a young woman’s coming of age), it has proven to be very popular.

Overdrive cover On Cringila Hill, by Noel Beddoe (eBook)
I recently ordered this title for the library after it was suggested by a customer (the ‘book’ copies are still on their way, but the ebook is here now!) It’s a hard-boiled Aussie crime drama (something I think they do very well) by a pretty low-key writer. Tagged as one of the best new Australian crime novels.

Overdrive cover Cavendon Hall, by Barbara Taylor Bradford (eBook)
‘Cavendon Hall’ is Barbara Taylor Bradford’s latest and the writer at her block-busting best apparently. Set in 1913 and following an aristocratic young lady about to make her debut, it covers Downton Abbey-esque ground.  But Bradford is the original, so you know it’ll be a satisfying read.

Kerry’s Fiction Picks

Straight into this week with a couple of my new fiction recommendations

Syndetics book coverRivers
I just couldn’t sum this one up!  It sounds like a Walking Dead without the zombies, but with an apocalyptic natural disaster instead.  I’ll leave it to the Booklist review to explain, “Smith imagines the devastation the Gulf Coast might experience if Hurricane Katrina marked the beginning of a continuous deluge of rain and wind, forcing the government to establish the Line, which isolates the South in flooding and lawlessness. Still haunted by the death of his wife and unborn child, a man named Cohen chooses to stay below the Line, where he avoids the chaos and ekes out a living in his unfinished house. Then a pair of teens ambush and nearly kill him, stealing his Jeep and ransacking his belongings. Left homeless, Cohen finds his way to a ramshackle trailer park controlled by a messianic figure named Aggie, from whose clutches Cohen frees the teens and several women for a perilous dash to safety above the Line.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverGods of the Steppe
Sticking with the grim theme is this novel by Russian author Andrei Gelasimov.  It’s set in post-war Russia 1945, in a small village near the Chinese border.  The main protagonist is a 12 year old boy who admires and befriends Soviet soldiers who guard nearby Japanese POWs.  The boy’s family is fractured, his mother depressed, his father gone and it’s all rather bleak.  But don’t be put off – good reviews and Gelasimov is very successful in Russia.

Syndetics book coverThe Ice-Cold Heaven
This is a fictionalised account of Ernest Shackleford’s 1914 expedition to be the first man to cross the Antarctic on foot.  It is told from the point of view of  17 year old Merce Blackboro who stows away on Shackleford’s ship as it sets out for sub-Antarctic island South Georgia.  The book is a gripping account of the hardships the crew suffered when the ship became trapped in ice in the Weddell Sea (for 635 days I think!).  Isolated as they are, the men also begin to learn that war has broken out and encompassed Europe.  Certainly a very interesting read!

Kerry’s Fiction Picks

Hi everyone, I’m one of the fiction selectors for Wellington City Libraries.  Along with Deborah and Christine, I spend a lot of time reading about, and choosing, lovely new fiction for you to enjoy.  This week I’ve chosen some new books with unusual titles.  They’re all different content-wise, but their odd names mean they do stick out!
(Remember these books aren’t ’shelf ready’, but they are due to be published in the next six months.  And they are on the catalogue, available to reserve).

Syndetics book coverMarrying of Chani Kaufman.
Ok the name’s not that weird, but it sounds like a great book so I wanted to mention it.  About the arranged marriage of a young couple and the young woman’s subsequent coming of age and sexual awakening, what makes it interesting is that it’s set in the orthodox Jewish community.  It was well reviewed by the Guardian and long-listed for the Man Booker prize.

Syndetics book coverMy father’s ghost is climbing in the rain.
This is the American debut of Patricio Pron a hot, new Spanish-language novelist.  The book has been very well reviewed and has popped up on some best-of 2013 lists.  This is the description from Amazon – “A young writer, living abroad, makes the journey home to South America to say good-bye to his dying father. In his parents’ house, he finds a cache of documents—articles, maps, photographs—and unwittingly begins to unearth his father’s obsession with the disappearance of a local man. Suddenly he comes face-to-face with the ghosts of Argentina’s dark political past and with the long-hidden memories of his family’s underground resistance against an oppressive military regime”.

Syndetics book coverMonkey love and murder.
This book’s strange title says it all really – a murder mystery and romance set in the South American rainforest.  It’s the debut novel of Edith McClintock who actually used to be in the Peace Corps and has worked on a monkey research project, so the author knows her stuff.  Unlike the female protagonist of the story who volunteers for a monkey research project on a whim.  Cue mysterious accidental death of colleague, budding romance with a zoologist, a machete murder and let’s not forget the monkeys!


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