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Terry's Traffic Light Delights

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

There are so many great new books this year! Check out my favorites here (older favorites are still listed below).

An Old Man's Game: An Amos Parisman Mystery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781945551642
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Prospect Park Books - December 3rd, 2019

I have not had this much fun in a mystery debut in many, many years. Not only does Weinberger (and his aging, retired detective Amos Parisman) have a great sense of humor … but his take on Los Angeles makes this a joy to read for all of us locals. Amos has long since retired but is called back into the action by the Board of Directors of his local temple to investigate the death of their rabbi, who died during lunch at the iconic Canter’s Deli on LA’s west side. Amos takes us on a ride through Los Angeles via his lifetime of experience thinking through the mysteries of life and death while mentoring his sidekick (and ex-professional wrestler) Omar Villasenor. I loved every minute and look forward to the next installment. 

Coached to Death Cover Image
ISBN: 9781496720337
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Kensington - October 29th, 2019

Laurie has done it again with another winning series! And we get to fall in love all over again with returning character faves, Cat Cooper and Gilley Gillespie as they join forces as “besties” to become a resourceful (and hilarious) crime solving duo, taking Cat’s new digs in the Hamptons by storm. Cat is putting the finishing touches on her new home and Gilley is living in her guest house. She is trying to adjust to her life as a single woman and start up her new career as a life coach. The trouble starts almost immediately when her neighbor Heather Holland treats her with distain and then taunts her into attending a party where she is hazed in the most public way. Cat, of course, does not bother to hide her thoughts or feelings about Heather in front of the entire party.

When Heather is found dead in her home, Cat is the first suspect and another humiliation is in store when the local homicide detective decides to make an example of her. What to do? Find out who the real killer is, of course!! Combining forces with Gilley to solve the crime while simultaneously entering the dating scene … there is plenty going on and the entertainment jumps out on every page. I can’t wait for #2! – Terry

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358023937
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - October 8th, 2019

Beginning with a wonderful name for a leading character and a fantastic title, this third outing for Racculia is a treat. Tuesday Mooney leads a wonderful life as a researcher for the fundraising arm of a Boston hospital, has a fabulous best friend, Dex, with whom she plays (and wins) trivia contests and participates in karaoke at the local bars, but she is still haunted by the dissappearance of her best friend in high school. When a local billionaire dies and proclaims a treasure hunt in his self-written obituary, Tuesday and Dex begin an adventure involving literary clues, mysterious millionaires, and new friends. This gem of a book is part mystery, part ghost story and loads of fun.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts is also about loss, friendship, family secrets, and self-acceptance. It is one of those rare novels that has it all. 

Time After Time: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812993431
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - June 11th, 2019

Grunwald’s latest book is a treat in every way. As in the past, she has selected a piece of history we know nothing about and emersed us in the time period. Her latest novel, is set during WWII novel and takes place primarily in NYC’s Grand Central Terminal from 1937 to 1947 when Joe Reynolds finds Nora Lansing on the floor of the terminal lobby following his shift working as a leverman, a job guiding trains into Grand Central Terminal. Joe and Nora come to understand that she is caught between two worlds after a tragic train accident, but this does not create enough of a barrier to these two who are immediately drawn to each other. Even as the war penetrates the life of the terminal and everyone around them their love story persists. Time takes on a different meaning for Joe and Nora and readers will not view war, train terminals, and time in the same way after reading this beautful novel.

Courting Mr. Lincoln: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616208479
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - April 23rd, 2019

I could not be more in love with this pitch-perfect, charming version of our history, the art of courtship, and these two extraordinary people. In 1840 Springfield, Illinois life is quite rustic but society and its expectations are any thing but. Into this mix, arrives Mary Todd a guest in her sister’s house with the expectation that she will make a match … and move out! She is wildly outspoken and certainly a woman ahead of her time. Abraham Lincoln arrives a bit earlier than Mary and is deeply embroiled in politics and law with very little expectation for what his life holds. He was raised without the benefit of learning the ins and outs of society but is helped through his deficit by his roommate and friend Joshua Speed. His learning process is as charming as his integrity and watching these two strong individuals through their courtship is a treat … unlike any other I have read

Miracle Creek: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374156022
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - April 16th, 2019

This expansive and extraordinary debut is much more than a court drama about a fire that killed two people. In fact, the courtroom serves as the backdrop for uncovering the many lies and secrets held in this small community in Virginia while masterfully telling the story of the Yoo family and the lives they changed forever. Miracle Creek draws on the author’s immigrant experience and artfully uses that experience to draw an authentic picture of those struggles. It is hard to do justice to a book that is both compulsively readable and yet uses its elegant prose to draw you in to so many intertwining stories of family, children, and the intricacies of dealing with special needs children. Ultimately, it about how one person and one decision can impact so many lives in both positive and negative ways. This is an author to watch.

Angie Kim is our inaugural Creating Conversations Book Club author. Meet Angie on May 9, 2019 in our Redondo Beach store.

Confessions of an Innocent Man: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524743888
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton - April 9th, 2019

This is the best legal thriller I have read in a very long time. And the fact that it is based on the real-life experiences of David Dow, Founder and Director of the Texas Innocence Network, makes it even more compelling. Rafael Zhettah is a descendant of Mexican immigrants. He is an excellent chef and the proprietor of a restaurant in Houston. He meets the love of his life at his restaurant and despite the differences in their ages and backgrounds they are happily married … up until the day she is murdered in their home.

Rafael is wrongly accused of her murder and ends up on death row in Texas. His death row experience is at once harrowing and fascinating and you will not be able to tear yourself away from the details of Rafael’s life in prison. There will be no spoiler alerts in this review, I only want to say that readers will be surprised and then surprised again at the turns of Rafael’s story while in a parallel narrative he relives the details of his marriage, which is nothing less than a grand love story. The insight and commentary on our legal system add to this suspenseful tale without taking anything away from this story about an Innocent Man.

I predict that Dow will be the next Andrew Vachss, championing those without a voice and shedding light on our justice system which is mostly unknown by most of us.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328662057
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - April 2nd, 2019

I could not put down this compulsively readable memoir about a therapist and her clients, combined with her own journey to mental health with her own therapist. This sneak peek into what happens behind closed doors is fascinating, but the insight we gain as we read Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is even more valuable. We can’t help but learn something about ourselves, how we can change (for the better) and the roles we play in our relationships with others.

Meet Lori on Independent bookstore day on April 27 in our Redondo Beach store.

Lights All Night Long: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525558736
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - April 2nd, 2019

In this exceptional novel, readers are transported to a small mining town in Russia where there are few prospects and no escape from daily drudgery, weather, and broken political system. From this environment, 15-year-old Ilya is a standout for his intelligence and his drive to learn English. For these reasons he is chosen to be an exchange student in Leffie, Louisiana, a goal he has had since he was a small boy. His excitement for this new opportunity is colored by his concern and love for his troubled, older brother, Vladimir who has been jailed for a crime he did not commit. Their tumultuous relationship is the focus of this book though their love for each other cannot be denied. Told in alternate chapters from Ilya’s life in Berlozhniki prior to boarding the plane to the US and his experiences with his host family in the United States, this is a story of love and devotion on both sides of the world.

Meet Lydia at our lunch in her honor on May 8 at Tin Roof Bistro Manhattan Beach.

The Falconer: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501193224
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - January 29th, 2019

There is so much I love about this exceptional debut; the language, the characters, the setting, and the sense that you are learning anew from an age-old experience. It is a coming of age story that is poetic, honest, insightful and beautifully written from the viewpoint of 17-year-old Lucy (Loose) Adler who is an extraordinary basketball player, social outcast, and out-of-the-box thinker. She is also in love with her best friend and fellow basketball player Percy. They have been inseparable since they were 5 years old, sharing hoops, drugs, secrets, and experiences, even as Lucy hides this one very big secret from him. Against the backdrop of New York City and their extremely different backgrounds, these two friends are most comfortable when they are together.

What I loved about this book is that I found so many passages worth re-reading, while the familiarity of the day and the age brought me back to many of my experiences from a similar time. This an author to watch!

Meet Dana on April 12 at a lunch in her honor in Manhattan Beach.

Virgil Wander Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802128782
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - October 2nd, 2018

I could not be more in love with Enger's characters, midwestern town, and gorgeous writing. Virgil Wander is an integral part of Greenstone, Minnesota, a small town that you are easily and willingly drawn into as you learn about its inhabitants and history.

Years prior to the start of this novel, Virgil Wander moved to Greenstone and bought a movie theatre called The Empress and then dedicated himself to spending his inheritance investing in it. When that path threatened to eat away all his savings, he took a second job as City Clerk where he is in the center of all small-town politics. At the start of the novel, Virgil inadvertently drives his car off an embankment, and the whole town watches his recovery and helps him heal. His recovery takes an interesting turn when a Norwegian visitor, Rune Eliassen, wanders into town with his imaginative designs for kites. The flight of these beautiful kites impacts the entire town and even those who passes by.

There is comfort in these pages as you hang out with Virgil, Rune, and the other inhabitants of this fine town. This is a book with big heart in a small landscape with solid midwestern roots. I hope I don't have to wait 10 more years for the next novel by this gem of an author.

Ohio Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781501174476
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 21st, 2018

From the start of this beautifully-written fiction debut, you know you are reading a rare piece of art that is also an entirely new reading experience. Markley has written an amazing portrait of Middle America, capturing the heart and soul of parts of our country at the beginning of the 21st century. He does this through the lens of four high school friends that all converge in their home town of New Canaan, Ohio, in 2013, 12 years after the tragedy of 9/11, the event which shaped much of their adolescence and adulthood. He has also written a complicated, intricate novel about small towns, secrets, friendships, unspeakable tragedy, love, war, and more. Much of Ohio is hard to read. All of Ohio worthy of discussion. It is certainly the novel of a generation that continues to have impact on today’s future. 

Meet Stephen Markley at lunch on September 26.

The Kiss Quotient Cover Image
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!

How to Stop Time Cover Image
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.

My Absolute Darling: A Novel Cover Image
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
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