New Book Releases :: September 17th, 2019

by Sean Frankel

Some of the amazing new releases for September 17th, 2019! #titletuesday

Science Fiction and Romance releases have some big named authors! Definitely make sure to check those out!

The New Releases
A Golden Grave by Erin Lindsey – Mystery
A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie – Fantasy
A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier – Lit. Fiction
A Trick Of Light by Stan Lee – Sci Fi
Ark by Veronica Roth – Sci FI
Dark Forge by Miles Cameron – Fantasy
Death In Focus by Anne Perry – Historical Mystery
Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay – Thriller
Frost and Flame by Gena Showalter – Paranormal Roamce
Guts by Raina Telgemeier – Kids
Land Of Wolves by Craig Johnson – Mystery
Met Her Match by Jude Devereux – Romance
On Division by Goldie Goldbloom – Lit. Fiction
Opioid, Indiana by Brian Allen Carr – Fiction
Red At the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson – Fiction
Shatter City by Scott Westerfield – YA
Steel Tide by Natalie C. Parker – YA
Strangers She Knows by Christina Dodd – Romantic Suspense
Summer Frost by Blake Crouch – Sci Fi
The Midnight Blade by Max Brallier – Kids
The Stalking by Heather Grahm – Romance
The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger – Mystery
The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox – Horror
What Rose Forgot by Neveda Barr – Mystery
You Have Arrived At Your Destination by Amor Towles – Sci FI

Adult Fiction Books for Book Clubs

by Ashley Owens

Hello all… It’s been a minute since I’ve posted, but summer will do that to you! Life has been full of weekend trips, family events, spending time with partners & friends, and also a very taxing 6-week work training. To say that I’m tired would be an understatement!

One of the constants in my busy schedule (besides changing diapers) is my bookclub. Every month some of my very closest friends gather and drink (more drinking than talking about books, if I’m being honest) and it is such a nice gathering and that always fills up my little bookworm heart with goodness. I’m not the only one who chooses the books though – every member sends me 2 suggestions, and I draw randomly from a bowl to pick what we will be reading! When possible, I try to make a drink, food, or dessert that is themed to the book choice, because I’m a nerd like that.

Given how obsessed I am with books, I thought I would share some recommendations for book club picks in case you ever want to start your own club! I’m going to make this a short “series” of blog posts on here, and today I’m going to focus on adult fiction literature.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

It feels fitting that the first book on my list is one I’ve actually read for book club specifically. “Evelyn Hugo” is pretty much all over the book world right now, and rightly so. It’s easily my favorite read of the year, and instantly after reading it I knew it was in my all-time favorites list.

This book tells the story of Evelyn Hugo; an Elizabeth Taylor type old-time Hollywood actress who was very famous and full of rumors. Set in alternating timelines, the first being present day with Evelyn telling her story

to an aspiring journalist and the other back in time to the actual events she’s revealing, her story has so many layers and surprises to it and is absolutely fascinating.

In my experience, our club held one of its best and longest discussions on this book over any others. There were so many ways to feel about Evelyn and those around her, her choices, and her story.


Beartown by Fredrick Backman

This one is also in my favorite books of this year! It left me speechless and went places I was absolutely not expecting.

This novel centers around the tiny, rural town of Beartown in Canada; a town that would not survive without Hockey. But when a horrible act is committed, the town is divided and chooses sides. There are more points of view in this book than I can count, which completely fits the story given that it’s point is to really investigate the nature of the individuals of the town, and therefore the town as a whole.

I think this would make a great book club pick because while yes it centers around a controversy, it forces people to think about their true nature and maybe face some uncomfortable questions.


On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

This was also a recent pick for my book club! Which I was over the moon about because Ian McEwan is hands down one of my all-time favorite authors.


Honestly, this book is so unique and I’m unlikely to forget it anytime soon. The entire thing technically takes place in the course of maybe 4 hours (if that), and centers on a very much newleywed couple as they spend their first night together post-wedding. But because of a series of flashbacks to give context, everything is really fleshed out despite being short.

Most people in my club were happy it was short, and thought the length was the right fit for the story. It lends itself super easily to discussions for bookclub, not just around the structure of the novel (novella?), but on the implications of every little detail given.


Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran

With all of the interest that readers seem to have lately in retellings or re-imaginings of myths & fairy tales, you would think more people would know about this book. But I don’t know a single other person who has read it!

The title says it all honestly – this book is about the life of Cleopatra’s daughter, Cleopatra Selene, immediately after her mother commits suicide and she is taken to Rome by Caesar.

I went into this with literally no expectations –

I listened to it on audiobook because it was available at my library and I have a deep interest in Ancient History – and ended up being completely enamored with and invested in it. I found myself making excuses to be in the car more often to listen to it! I learned so very much as a result of it, too.

So little is known about Cleopatra and her family, that I think anyone who reads this can’t help but learn a lot as well. The sharing of things learned would make for a good book club discussion, as well as some discussions around Cleopatra II, since she was at such a formative age when her life was turned on its head.


Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Yes yes, the movie adaptation of this book is being released soon. But do yourself a favor and read it before you see it, okay?

This one is kind of hard to describe: told from the point of view of her daughter, Bee (as well as random other emails, postcards, newspaper articles, etc.), this book is about the circumstances surrounding Bernadette Fox’s disappearance.

It’s hilarious, crazy, kind of mysterious, and so completely original…

there would seriously be so much to talk about for a book club… even just about Bernadette herself, who is so eccentric! The book definitely matches the personality of both Bee & Bernadette.


Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

I will keep this one simple, because Margaret Atwood is obviously a master at her craft: this is a retelling of the Shakespeare play The Tempest, and is absolutely a feat of creativity, attention to detail, and writing.


Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

Prepare yourself if you choose to read this one; it’s heavy. Both because it’s so freaking long and the actual content.

A part of history often not talked about in schools, Moloka’i is about the life of Rachel, a Hawaiian born in the early 1900’s who contracts lepracy and is sent to the leper colony of Moloka’i. The book is about her entire life, from when she is sent away, all the way to her last days. Seriously, it’s not an upper.

If your book club doesn’t mind a longer read, this is totally worth it, though

It’s chalk-full of history, questions of morality and mortality, and the exploration of culture and identity.


Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The last book on this list that I actually read for book club! And I read a signed copy of it that I got when I went to a conference for the store I used to work at, so this book club meeting meant a lot to me when it happened!

It doesn’t sound like much at first – a novel that takes places in Iceland about the last woman to be hung to death – but there is SO MUCH to unpack in this story. It’s fascinating and intricate and so freaking well-written! The author was only like 22 when she wrote it, which I find completely inspiring.


The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

When it comes to Adult Historical Fiction about WWII, most people would suggest either “The Nightingale” or “All the Light We Cannot See.” I’m here to tell you that there are SO MANY OTHER OPTIONS. Yes those 2 books are stunning, but I’d like to highlight a lesser-known one.

In my opinion, this is Jodi Picoult’s best novel. Her writing is much more sophisticated in it and the story itself is thoughtful and different for her. It’s just so impressive, and actually kinda long!

“The Storyteller” follows the journey of a very meek young lady named Sage, who is asked by a beloved elderly man if she will kill him. When she asks why, he confesses that he was a Nazi and deserves to confess and die.
Needless to say, this story is thought-provoking and gripping, and definitely lends itself well to a book club.


Check out her website here: http://wp.sparkylovesbooks.com/

New Book Releases July 16th, 2019

by Sean Frankel

Here are some of the top new books that are coming out this week! #titletuesday


The New Release Titles:
A Grave End by Wendy Roberts – Mystery
A Pinch of Phoenix by Heidi Lang – Children’s Mystery
Atmosphaera Incognita by Neal Stephenson – Science Fiction
Bark of Night by David Rosenfelt – Mystery
Buried by Ellison Cooper – Thriller
Changeling by William Ritter – Young Adult
Earth by Ben Bova – Science Fiction
File Zero by Jack Mars – Thriller
Iron Will by Bj Daniels – Romance
Jack of Spades by Diane Capri – Thriller
Judge Not by Ciara Graves – Fantasy
Just My Luck by Jennifer Honeybourn – Young Adult
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber – Contemporary Romance
Red Metal by Mark Greaney – Military Thriller
Rules of War by Matthew J Betley – Thriller
Shamed by Linda Castillo – Amish Mystery Thriller
Skin Deep by Karen Chance – Urban Fantasy
Sophia, Princess Among Beasts by James Patterson – Fantasy
Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews – Urban Fantasy
Tell Me Everything by Cambria Brockman – Mystery Thriller
Temptations Darling by Johanna Lindsay – Historical Romance
The Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah E Ladd – Historical Christian Fiction
The New Girl by Daniel Silva – Thriller
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead – Historical Fiction
The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson – Thriller
The Pawful Truth by Miranda James – Cozy Mystery
The Phantom Forest by Liz Kerin – Young Adult
The Second Worst Restaurant in France by Alexander McCall Smith – Humor Fiction
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone – Sci/Fi
Untamed Delights by Suzanne Wright – Paranormal Romance
When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal – Fiction
Window On The Bay by Debbie Macomber – Romance

Road Trip Reading Recommendations

By Ashley Owens

‘Tis the season to go traveling!

Guess who finally took a vacation! That’s right – my partner, our little one, and I went up to the Washington mountains in the Pacific Northwest for over a week! We went to the beach, did some book shopping, hit a couple of breweries, went hiking multiple times, and also just relaxed & did nothing in the family house! My daughter discovered her love of the beach, and macaroni & cheese. It was a beautiful time.

Because I’m a bookworm, and also because I’m hecka extra, I packed 6 books AND my kindle. We drove up to Washington from California – a 12 hour drive in total – but split it over 2 days and stayed in Oregon on our way there and back. So I feel like I was totally justified in bringing all of those books! That’s a lot of time in the car! And that doesn’t even include all of our smaller trips when we were actually in Washington. Plus I’m a mood reader, so I like to have many options available to me while I’m away to make sure I have a good time while I’m reading.

This got me thinking though, about which books may be more conducive to road trip reading. So without further ado, here are some road trip reading recommendations!

Penryn and the End of Days series by Susan Ee

I have definitive proof that this trilogy is very much readable on a road trip; my best friend read ALL 3 BOOKS when we were driving home from Washington to California (yes, I clearly make this trip a lot). They’re short, gripping, full of action, all-consuming, and clearly totally addicting. And lots of the plot takes place on the road… albeit walking & hiking through a post-apocalyptic world, but still!

This series follows Penryn Young, a 17-year-old San Franciscan, as she tries to navigate the world that has suddenly come apart around her as a result of fallen angels feuding with each other. She’s a badass heroine, who also happens to be a super loyal older sister and falls (reluctantly) for one of the afore-mention fallen angels, named Raffe.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This is another book that I can vouch for it’s road trip readability, as I read it on a road trip to Lake Tahoe in May! 2 months later and I am literally still thinking about this book every damn day. It’s a super cute, fun, quick read that still manages to hit you in the feels. The main characters talk like real people – something I feel like never happens in YA or NA books – which makes it relatable as heck. I laughed, I cried, what a time I had.

This book is about Alex and Henry, the first son of the US and the Prince of England respectively, in a sort of alternate reality where a female is the President of America. That’s right – it’s gay! (are you shocked) It features one of my all-time favorite tropes: the hate-to-love romance.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Is it cheating to include a book about a road trip in this list? Even if it is, I don’t care because this book is the only road trip book I have ever actually liked.

This book is both cute and sad at times. It’s one of those Young Adult books that actually has substantive writing and characters. I liked the ways I got to know Amy and Roger, Roger in particular is so crush-worthy to me. The story’s pacing is one you can completely fall into and follow along with well. Amy is a very thoughtful character and that shows in the writing, but there are also these super adorable little “road trip” themed moments specifically that make this great for a car ride: playlists, grocery shopping lists, car games, etc.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

I would actually recommend this audiobook specifically for a road trip. The narrator is superb, and the silliness & adventure of the book comes across as this adventure story being told to you by a story-teller. It’s got everything; pirates, queer characters, science, robberies, smut. It’s amazing.

The Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

Or really any of his books. They’re fantastic and like a slightly older Harry Potter but full of Greek mythology. Like, it’s my favorite series of all time, so I don’t know how else to sell you on them, but I guarantee you will be hooked.

Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger

Why are these books not more well-known?! They are a riot! And they have history and fantasy and steampunk and steamy times. They make for some amazing stories to get engrossed in and laugh out loud at, and just have a great time with it while stuck in the car.

My Lady Jane by Cythnia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Very similarly to “Gentleman’s Guide,” this book is surprisingly hilarious. I would also recommend this as an audiobook too! The absurdity of this book and the funny lines will keep you entertained on your road trip!

Blood For Blood trilogy by Catherine Doyle

This is the most addictive series I have ever read, without question. It’s basically Romeo & Juliet but with the Italian mafia in Chicago in modern days. Like, these books are ridiculously dramatic, and I LIVE for it. I guarantee you that you will not want to do anything but be consumed with these books when you read them! The love triangle alone is enough to engross you.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

So the first appealing thing about this book is that it’s short – so no matter how long your car ride is, you can probably finish it within the trip. Secondly, it’s FULL of plot twists… so to say that you will be hooked is an understatement And thirdly, just holy cow is this a page turner!


To find more blogs and articles from Ashley Owens visit her website;
http://wp.sparkylovesbooks.com/