Book List

Addictive Series to Read This Summer

Prepare to be rendered speechless.

FOREVER WOLF

From the Legend of All Wolves series , Vol. 3

A hardened werewolf must choose between loyalty to her pack or saving the life of a mysterious stranger in this hauntingly beautiful paranormal romance.

Varya Timursdottir is a Shielder for the Great North Pack. She upholds the laws and makes sure all the moving parts are kept going, as she knows firsthand the damage that can be done when a pack’s structure starts to crumble. She wasn’t always a member of the Great North Pack. In fact, Varya is the sole survivor of Pack Vrangelya after they were systemically wiped out. Carrying both the emotional and physical scars of the ordeal, she’s become icy, unmoving, and stern in her role as Shielder and in her dedication to pack law. During a run, she discovers Eyulf, an injured and unconscious man who smells like home, her original home in the Arctic wild. Curious about the man, Varya helps him in secret, but the pair begin to unravel the secrets of Eyulf’s existence. Enmeshed in pack politics, shifting alliances, and threats from humans and Shifters, the Great North Pack enters into an age of uncertainty and possibly war. Varya is torn between upholding her role in the pack and giving in to the feelings stirred by the curious Eyulf. Vale’s (A Wolf Apart, 2018, etc.) latest is lyrical and mesmerizing, the written embodiment of the wild depth where the Great North Pack resides. Each word is carefully selected, and the slightest actions contain deeper meanings in a story that feels expertly crafted in its subtle complexity. Though it's a romance with a bittersweet happily-ever-after that's sure to bring out some tears, the notion of what it means to belong and what Varya will do to help heal her grief-stricken homesickness are rooted at the center of it all.

Prepare to be rendered speechless.

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6193-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

Adrenaline-laced post-apocalyptic fun.

NO ESCAPE

From the Plague Land series , Vol. 3

Complete assimilation is the name of the game in the final installment of Scarrow’s Plague Land trilogy.

Shortly after the events of Reborn (2018), siblings Leon and Grace and their friend Freya become separated. Freya is on a U.S. Navy ship bound for Cuba, aka the New United States, along with Leon and Grace’s father, Tom, who is desperate to locate his children. Leon is still in the U.K. with a small band of survivors after having fled the chaos that befell their last refuge, and Grace, who is now infected and more than human, is on a Chinese carrier carrying a shocking message. Over two years ago, the world was invaded by the horrifying virus that liquifies its victims, and though the discovery that salt water is an effective weapon has offered hope, it hasn’t been enough to stop the ruthless otherworldly intelligence that makes it clear that assimilation is humanity’s only choice. Is there a way to stop the takeover before humankind is annihilated? Scarrow’s devastated landscape and the terrifying entity that has taken it over are vividly rendered, and the plentiful, visceral imagery of bodies in various states of transformation is not for the squeamish. The conclusion may prove divisive among series fans, but it will linger. Main characters are assumed white, but there’s some diversity in the international supporting cast.

Adrenaline-laced post-apocalyptic fun. (Horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6026-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

Giordano’s wit and his formidable heroine's wisdom combine to make this debut a smash.

AUNTIE POLDI AND THE SICILIAN LIONS

From the Auntie Poldi series , Vol. 1

An ex-pat from Munich finds love and murder in Sicily.

When Isolde Oberreiter decides at age 60 to move from Munich to Sicily “to drink herself comfortably to death with a sea view,” her decision makes a crazy kind of sense. Winters in Munich are not for the faint of heart. Her ex-husband, Peppe, now deceased, was from Catania, and his three sisters, Luisa, Teresa, and Caterina, welcome her to join them there. But Isolde, known to her family as Poldi, always flies to her own compass. Instead of Catania, she buys a villa in tiny Torre Archirafi, down the street from the Bar-Gelateria Cocuzza . Because even intrepid Poldi can’t manage a villa on her own, she recruits Valentino Candela, a local jack-of-all-trades, to help with the restoration. Valentino is a great worker until he disappears. Suspecting foul play, Poldi invades Femminamorta, a local estate Valentino mentioned just before vanishing. Valérie Raisi di Belfiore, the estate’s young owner, takes to Poldi, inviting her to dinner with her elderly cousin, Domenico Pastorella di Belfiore, owner of a still larger estate. Charmed as she is by Sicilian high society, Poldi isn’t getting any closer to finding Valentino. And she isn’t finding people with whom she really clicks—that is, until she crosses paths with police detective Vito Montana. Poldi is an irresistible newcomer with a mature voice and a vision of who she is and who she never will be, not afraid to take chances, and willing to fail. She's grateful to the universe for what it offers and accepting when it doesn't provide more. A drama queen who isn't fooled by her own production, she knows the value of living deeply.

Giordano’s wit and his formidable heroine's wisdom combine to make this debut a smash.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-908-52469-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

With every new work, Jemisin’s ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows.

THE FIFTH SEASON

From the The Broken Earth series , Vol. 1

In the first volume of a trilogy, a fresh cataclysm besets a physically unstable world whose ruling society oppresses its most magically powerful inhabitants.

The continent ironically known as the Stillness is riddled with fault lines and volcanoes and periodically suffers from Seasons, civilization-destroying tectonic catastrophes. It’s also occupied by a small population of orogenes, people with the ability to sense and manipulate thermal and kinetic energy. They can quiet earthquakes and quench volcanoes…but also touch them off. While they’re necessary, they’re also feared and frequently lynched. The “lucky” ones are recruited by the Fulcrum, where the brutal training hones their powers in the service of the Empire. The tragic trap of the orogene's life is told through three linked narratives (the link is obvious fairly quickly): Damaya, a fierce, ambitious girl new to the Fulcrum; Syenite, an angry young woman ordered to breed with her bitter and frighteningly powerful mentor and who stumbles across secrets her masters never intended her to know; and Essun, searching for the husband who murdered her young son and ran away with her daughter mere hours before a Season tore a fiery rift across the Stillness. Jemisin (The Shadowed Sun, 2012, etc.) is utterly unflinching; she tackles racial and social politics which have obvious echoes in our own world while chronicling the painfully intimate struggle between the desire to survive at all costs and the need to maintain one’s personal integrity. Beneath the story’s fantastic trappings are incredibly real people who undergo intense, sadly believable pain.

With every new work, Jemisin’s ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-22929-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Orbit/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2016

The author’s CIA background and the smart dialogue make this an entertaining tale for spy-novel enthusiasts.

RED SPARROW

From the Red Sparrow series , Vol. 1

Matthews’ first novel, a globe-trotting spy thriller, features enough action to satisfy even the most demanding of adrenaline junkies.

CIA field operative Nate Nash acts as the control officer for an invaluable Russian asset placed high up in Putin’s administration. Nate chose to become a career spy despite pressure from his well-connected attorney father and two brothers to knuckle down and join the family business. Now, instead of filing briefs and golfing on weekends, he’s playing tag with top-notch Russian intelligence teams out to expose Nate’s source, known by the code name MARBLE. Meanwhile, another Russian, a beautiful ballerina named Dominika, raised by parents disenchanted with Russian politics but smart enough to realize that such an attitude could prove deadly to their only child, has been forced out of ballet school following an incident of sabotage. While contemplating her grim future, Dominika is approached by her loathsome uncle and top Soviet intelligence official, Vanya Egorov, to seduce an oligarch bothersome to the current administration. When a soulless killer becomes involved in the assignment, Dominika realizes she must quickly adhere to the party line in order to survive and asks her uncle to help her join the intelligence service, which he does. Soon, Dominika and Nate are set on a collision course, and the stage is set for a cat-and-mouse game that bounces from Moscow to Helsinki to Rome to Athens, a deadly assassin at their heels. The inclusion of a recipe at each chapter’s end (for foods including chicken Kiev and kebabs), along with the not-so-subtle mentions of food wedged into the storyline, is unnecessary. This book is good and doesn’t need the gimmicks.

The author’s CIA background and the smart dialogue make this an entertaining tale for spy-novel enthusiasts.

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0612-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Goodlett's debut is a refreshing break from fantasy novels in which the plot hinges on a seemingly inevitable heterosexual...

RULE

From the Rule series , Vol. 1

Set in a fantastical world in which almost all humans have the power to harness extraordinary physical prowess by tithing their blood (referred to as the Blood Arts), Rule traces the adventures of three sisters in their quest for the crown.

The three young women could not be more different: Zofi is a Traveler; not only is her tribe of wandering nomads shunned by mainstream society, but Zofi is on the run from the King’s guards. Florencia, or Ren, is a lady’s maid at the Keep, catering to the whims and fancies of noblewomen. Akeylah, from the Eastern Reach, suffers under the tyranny of her abusive adoptive father and is unsure whether she will survive from one day to the next. United by their paternity, the girls are invited by their father, King Andros, to compete for the crown. Yet each girl’s claim to the throne is complicated by a secret she harbors: Each has committed an act of treason against the royal family. The fast-paced plot makes for an engaging read; however, the underdeveloped side characters weaken the story. Readers may be troubled by the equation of cutting and/or pain with a marked increase in power. Limited physical descriptions other than hair color make ethnicity difficult to determine.

Goodlett's debut is a refreshing break from fantasy novels in which the plot hinges on a seemingly inevitable heterosexual romance. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-51528-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

Contains everything readers have come to expect from powerhouse Connelly. Bonus: Additional installments hold the intriguing...

THE LINCOLN LAWYER

Fresh from returning Harry Bosch to the LAPD with The Closers (2005), veteran crime novelist Connelly offers intrigue and bracing twists in his first legal thriller.

Criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller is known as a “Lincoln lawyer” because he does business while being driven from courthouse to courthouse in his Town Car. Scraping by by defending lowlifes, some of whom offer their chauffeur services to work off Haller’s fees, he stumbles across a dream client: a rich boy accused of viciously beating a woman. Most important for Haller, Louis Roulet loudly proclaims his innocence, and his family has the dough to pay top-dollar for representation. But Haller’s father, J. Michael Haller (making Bosch and Haller half-brothers, Connelly’s wink to longtime fans) said there was “no client as scary as an innocent man,” and soon Haller is confronted with the consequences that come from the system’s inevitable compromises. When Haller’s investigator and friend is murdered for getting too close to the truth, he’s forced to confront the cost of sacrificing ideals for pragmatism. To spill more plot detail would spoil a good deal of the considerable fun here; suffice to say the conflict sparks in Haller an epic case of cognitive dissonance. Connelly gets the legal details and maneuvers just right, and Haller is a great character—world-weary but funny and likable—he’s never met an angle he couldn’t play or a corner he couldn’t cut.

Contains everything readers have come to expect from powerhouse Connelly. Bonus: Additional installments hold the intriguing possibility of one day seeing Bosch and Haller together on the streets of L.A.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2005

ISBN: 0-316-73493-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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