This has been an interesting week, to say the least: work
deadlines, family issues, and a snow storm were at the top of my
personal headlines. I didn't get much reading done, but I loaded seven
books, all released this month, on my eReader. I've already started two
of these novels, and I hope I make it through the entire list.
(Presented in alphabetical order.)
- Gilded Cage by Vic James (Del Rey / alternate history, fantasy): The book is set in an alternate history contemporary Britain in which having magical abilities affords one socioeconomic status and power. Political scheming among the rich and underground rebellion among the poor hint of troubles ahead. This is the first entry in a much-buzzed series.
- The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro (Katherine Tegen / mystery): The second book in a trilogy that reimagines the Sherlock Holmes universe through the adventures of two teens: Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, who possess their namesakes' personalities and talents. This mystery, set in Europe, involves a missing person and Holmes family secrets.
- Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas (HarperTeen / fantasy, murder mystery): A girl who dreams of becoming a scientist must instead ascend her country's throne, after the royal family and more direct heirs are poisoned at a celebration. Our hero uses her intelligence to stay alive, find the killer(s), and rule the kingdom.
- The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press / short stories): This collection of short stories examines the contemporary Vietnamese experience--as citizens of the United States, as hosts to U.S. travelers, as refugees still unsure of their place in the world. The themes tackled here are relevant to refugees and immigrants everywhere and are particularly important in today's political atmosphere.
- Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Lasken (Katherine Tegen / contemporary YA): A retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in the Mideast. This novel in verse is told alternatively by two teens, who reveal their daily life, the hopes of their parents, and their own dreams. A moving and easy-to-access account of contemporary Israeli and Palestinian relationships.
- Windy City Blues by Renee Rosen (Berkely / historical fiction): Set in the mid-twentieth century, this novel explores the intersection of the Chicago blues scene with the rise of the civil rights movement and rock 'n' roll. Told from multiple viewpoints, the story provides a period snapshot of the record industry, racial prejudices, and women's issues projected against a backdrop of American sociopolitical change.
- The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell (Emily Bestler / women's fiction, NA): Four Louisiana teens think marrying young will give them the happily-ever-after they dream of. As each girl matures into womanhood, she must weigh romance against truth, stability, and independence. An entertaining, layered novel.