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Terry's Traffic Light Delights

These are some of Terry's favorite books of the season:

 

Dear Mrs. Bird: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501170065
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - July 3rd, 2018

Just when you think that you have read enough books about WWII, up pops this delightful romp in 1940s London during the Blitz, featuring aspiring war correspondent Emmeline (Emmy) Lake. This period brought challenges to everyone across Europe and the UK, but especially to women like Emmy who would like to have a career, but struggle with the norms and expectations of the time. When Emmy secures a job at The London Evening Chronicle, she is thrilled to be following her career path, only to find that she was hired as an assistant to an advice columnist for women; not exactly a stepping stone toward Lady War Correspondent, her lifelong goal. Her boss, Mrs. Bird, has a very conservative approach to the types of letters she will answer and eventually, Emmy cannot stop herself from answering some of these letters on her own. She feels that women need more support and answers than those provided by her boss, especially at a time that carries deep emotional strain and loss. This story is told with humor and a genuine feel for the time, including much tragedy and compassion for war-time London.


The Kiss Quotient Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780451490803
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - June 5th, 2018

Prepare to be charmed. And enlightened!

Without fail, every time I read a novel with an autistic character, I cannot help but relate to that character at least in some way. I think we are all on the spectrum somewhere and characters like Stella Lane remind us of this. We could all use this insight to do a better job communicating compassionately to everyone in our lives. I love this book for its simplicity, its characterization of autism, and of course, for a great love story. And I should mention, this is a very sexy novel. Put this on your summer reading list!


The Book of Essie: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525520313
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - June 12th, 2018

Reality TV has taken hold of American TV watchers in a very big way, but what happens behind the scenes may be even more fascinating. This is the focus of this impossible-to-put-down debut told from three points of view, and highlighting an evangelical family who has made their fame and fortune through their long-running TV show called Six for Hicks.

Essie is the youngest daughter of this clan. When she discovers that she is pregnant, she sees this as a way out from her domineering family and the role she has had to play from birth. She chooses a (unsuspecting) husband for herself and Roarke is the second voice in this story. The third perspective comes from Libby, a reporter who has her own very public past. 

Whether you are a fan of reality TV or not, you will not be able to resist this tale of secrecy, subterfuge, lies, and more … up until the very last page!


How to Walk Away: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250149060
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - May 15th, 2018

I could not “walk away” from Margaret Jacobsen’s journey from a promising conventional future to one that has seemingly unsurmountable barriers to happiness. Against her better judgement, Margaret gets in a plane with her inexperienced pilot-boyfriend, and what happens next changes her life forever. This intimate look at recovery, loss, healing, and strength will captivate you and keep you glued to the pages through family drama and coming to terms some truths about her life. Margaret ultimately will find the person she was meant to be … not the one she thought she should be. I was touched by all the characters and still miss them long after the last page. This may be the perfect summer read.


Goodbye, Paris: A Novel Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781501196508
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Touchstone - August 7th, 2018

This satisfying debut is about love, music, and finding the life you were meant to live … and of course, Paris. Grace is an accomplished cellist and a world-renown violin maker who lives in a small town in the UK. Her boyfriend David is a wealthy businessman who has an apartment in Paris where they frequently meet, though David is married and has two lives, only one of which includes Grace. Despite his current married state, Grace and David have planned their future together including a vacation to Italy where she has entered a music contest. When she is not with David, she carries on her life in her violin shop with a very small set of friends. This seemingly perfect plan and gentle way of life is shattered one day when David saves a woman from being run over by a train in a Paris subway. This begins a series of events that drive the narrative of Goodbye, Paris and Grace’s journey to her best possible life.


How to Stop Time Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525522874
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - February 6th, 2018

Tom Hazard is 436 years old, though he looks like he is in his 40s. He was born in 1581 and, unlike the rest of us; he ages only one year every 15 years. Not only does his condition keep him young, it protects him from illness. This may sound like the ultimate immortal life, but for Tom it has been a lonely and sad existence since his wife died of The Plague in 1623.

In the late 1800s, Tom discovers that there are other people in the world with the same condition and he joins their “society” for his protection (and theirs). He finds himself living by rules that make his life, well, unlivable. But, what keeps Tom going is the hope that he will be reunited with his daughter Marion, who he believes, has inherited his condition.

The story of Tom’s life through the centuries and the famous people he meets (Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald!) is mixed seamlessly with the narrative of his current life as a history teacher (of course!) in London. Tom’s observations are a poignant commentary about the current issues of the day and the meaning of life. This is an engaging and fun read for everyone.


The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: A Novel in Clues Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781501175121
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Touchstone Books - March 6th, 2018

Isaac Severy knew his death was imminent, so before he took matters into his own hands, he wrote his adopted granddaughter, Hazel, a cryptic note about his work, the need to destroy it, and instructions to deliver his final equation to a person who is unknown to her. It is a complete puzzle to her (as she has never liked math), made urgent because Isaac insists that more deaths will result. Hazel has always felt like a misfit among the Severy family of geniuses, mathematicians, and physicists, especially since her bookstore in Seattle is currently failing and she is living in the backroom because she has nowhere else to go. As Hazel searches for clues that will lead her to fulfill her grandfather’s last wish, many secrets about her adopted relatives begin to unfold. This is a fun and literary mystery from a debut author to watch.


The Coincidence Makers: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250146113
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - March 6th, 2018

It may or may not be a coincidence that you are reading this review (and possibly this book). Since every coincidence is orchestrated by the Coincidence Makers (CM), it is hard to determine if free will exists at all. Enter this world where the CM class of ‘75 consists of Emily, Eric, and Guy. “The General” leads them through the steps and the foundations that allow them to work on this parallel plane, and we will see how coincidences can be manufactured and manipulated by this highly skilled group. But to what purpose, and why? You will have to read this genre-bending, unique novel to find out.


Need to Know: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781524797027
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - January 23rd, 2018

It is not a (complete) spoiler to tell you that Vivian Miller’s husband is a Russian spy. You will know this within the first 30 pages. But for Vivian, this revelation is beyond uncomfortable, because it is her job at the CIA trying to uncover the Russian spy network of sleepers that have assimilated themselves into life in the U.S. And while comparisons to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” are inevitable, you are in entirely different territory here. Vivian and Matt have been married for 10 years and have four small children. The discovery of Matt’s background and duplicity puts Vivian and her children in jeopardy as she tries to find a way to save her family and her job. The turbulent storyline is interspersed with a recounting of her past memories of falling in love with Matt and starting their life together.This is a hard-to-put-down ingenious suspense thriller


Manhattan Beach: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476716732
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - October 3rd, 2017

Set in New York City during the Second World War, this atmospheric novel centers around Anna Kerrigan and the mysterious rich man she meets when she is just nine years old. Ten years later, at 19, Anna meets that man, nightclub owner and gangster Dexter Styles, once again. By this time, she spends her days toiling away in a factory building parts for the armed forces. What do Anna and Dexter have in common? As it turns out, Anna’s father disappeared years earlier, not long after she accompanied him on a visit to the Styles home in Manhattan Beach. It is the mystery of her father’s disappearance that drives much of the narrative and plot.

Manhattan Beach is a beautiful mix of history, fascinating characters, and an examination of decisions made in extreme circumstances. The ultimate result is a book not easily forgotten and a time that is better understood with its reading.  – Terry


Gone to Dust: A Detective Nils Shapiro Novel Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780765391308
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Forge Books - May 1st, 2018

I admit it. I am a sucker for a smart, sexy, funny, damaged private detective in a small town setting. And that is what I have found in Goldman’s excellent, engrossing debut. Niles Shapiro made a reputation for himself by solving a case that eluded the police several years ago. This, in combination with his long-time friendship with Edina Police detective Anders Ellegaard, brings him into a case involving a local woman who has been murdered in her home under unusual circumstances in the quiet town of Edina, Minnesota. Niles has lived in Edina all his life, knows his way around the frozen terrain, and is in touch with most of the locals. In fact, some of the people from his past become major suspects as he investigates this crime through the freezing and icy Minnesota winter. Goldman is an Emmy Award-winning television writer whose credits include writing for Seinfeld and Ellen. All of this makes for an entertaining and lively read. I can hardly wait for the second book in this sure-to-be-a-hit series. – Terry


Something Like Happy Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781525811357
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graydon House - September 5th, 2017

This may be the feel-good-book of the year, despite its dire premise and inevitable ending. Something Like Happy begins with an unlikely friendship between terminal cancer patient Polly Leonard and the barely functional Annie Hebden, who is suffering from multiple personal tragedies.

Polly has been diagnosed with a brain tumor but is determined to live her last 100 days celebrating life and everyone she comes into contact with. Annie has had a rough couple of years dealing with the loss of her son, the end of her marriage, and her mother’s early onset dementia. They meet at the hospital where Polly is extremely popular because of the joy she spreads, her glamorous fashion sense, and her positive attitude in almost total disregard of her pending demise. Annie needs a bit (okay, a lot) of convincing to work with Polly on her 100 Happy Days project, but when she does, her life begins to change. We can’t help but laugh at their antics, and the result is a book that you will find difficult to put down. No one will be untouched by this friendship and the life (and death) lessons they teach us, especially the reader.  – Terry


The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812989908
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - January 30th, 2018

This literary thriller is a stunner … both for its unique format and plot and for the two unforgettable characters whose lives are both heartbreaking and violent. Samuel Hawley has a turbulent and disturbing past and is the sole parent to his daughter, Loo, following the death of his wife. The circumstances surrounding the twelve bullets lodged in Hawley’s body and the story of his life is one narrative. Alternating chapters follow Loo from the age of 11 to the present day. She is precocious, brilliant, and resilient, and has inherited some of her father’s violent tendencies. After moving erratically around the country throughout their lives together, they move back to Olympus, Massachusetts, the town where her mother was raised and where her grandmother still lives. Their integration into that town is a rocky path for both of them, but ultimately brings them together in unexpected ways.

The mystery of Hawley’s past (including the death of Loo’s mother) drives both narratives in this non-stop, beautifully paced, and elegantly written novel. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.


My Absolute Darling: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780735211179
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - August 29th, 2017

My Absolute Darling is amazing … and scary and unsettling and disturbing … and possibly one of the most brilliant novels of the year.

 Fourteen-year-old Julie (AKA Turtle/AKA Kibble) Alveston is being raised by two chillingly dangerous men. She lives in a house that is in complete disrepair and her diet is beyond distressful. She is proficient with guns, deficient in school, and does not socialize with her peers. She does not trust her own judgement and lives in constant fear, despite the vast love she feels for both of these men. And this is the dilemma that will keep you turning the pages of this remarkable debut.

My Absolute Darling is, in fact, a terrifying book to read, but it is so brilliantly written that you cannot possibly skip the opportunity to learn about Turtle’s journey and her growth. This may also possibly be the perfect book group book with many themes to explore, including how we take care of our world and the people in it … and how we don’t.  And, Gabriel Tallent’s love for our world shines through every page.

To read My Absolute Darling is life-changing. Tallent has poured his heart, soul, and intellect into this unforgettable novel for our time.

As an added bonus, meeting Gabriel is utterly transformational.  His background is as fascinating as his unexpected/unparalleled fiction debut. You must meet him (and you can … on September 12 at a very special Ladies, Lunch, and Literacy event!) – Terry


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735220683
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - May 9th, 2017

At first glance, you might think you are in for a hilarious romp with a socially inept character who is lovable by the end of the book like somewhat similar titles, The Rosie Project or A Man Called Ove. And in some ways, this comparison would be correct. But Eleanor is a more serious character with dark past and substantial work to do before she can feel comfortable with the human race. But laugh we do, because Eleanor is extraordinarily smart and funny. More importantly, we admire her courage and fortitude as she faces both the present and the past and her own coping mechanisms. More than laughter and redemption, at the end of this fine debut, we want to give her a hug. – Terry


Magpie Murders: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062645227
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - June 6th, 2017

I could not be more charmed by this mystery within a mystery by a master in this genre, Horowitz. From the start, you know you are in for a treat and a mystery far beyond the latest installment from fictional English sensation, Alan Conway. When Editor Susan Ryeland sits down to edit Alan’s new Atticus Pünd mystery, we are right there with her, reading along. And by the end of manuscript for this delightful/playful/somewhat satirical romp through the English countryside, we are intrigued. It will be no surprise to any mystery reader that the manuscript is incomplete, the author is dead, and our illustrious editor turns into an amateur sleuth, but the enchantment continues as we learn more about all of the characters (suspects) known by Alan Conway. Magpic Murders is fun, creative, and simply a great read.  – Terry