Five Book Friday!

Via BuzzFeed

And, as promised, we all bring you the 2018 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction!  The announcement was made about an hour ago, and we are pleased as punch to bring the results to you!  As with yesterday’s list, clicking on the author’s name will bring you to their National Book Award author’s page.  Clicking on the title will bring you to the library page where you can check on the book’s availability and request it.



And now, on to the books on our shelves!

The Duke With a Dragon Tattoo: Yes, it’s another Duke-As-Hero historic romance, but Kerrigan Byrne’s stories never follow precedent or trope, so we’re convinced that this story is going to be both delightful and unique!  He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul.  Lorelai will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?  Byrne’s books are always a topic of conversation around here, and Library Journal loved this new addition, describing it as “A hero so lost he fears he’ll never be found and a heroine who won’t give up on him reclaim their love in a bold, lyrical tale that brings the darker side of the Victorian Age into sharp relief; another winner in a stellar series.”

The Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves: Eric R. Kandel was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his foundational research into memory storage in the brain, and his book thus draws on a lifetime of pathbreaking research and the work of many other leading neuroscientists to take us on an unusual tour of the brain.  e confronts one of the most difficult questions we face: How does our mind, our individual sense of self, emerge from the physical matter of the brain? The brain’s 86 billion neurons communicate with one another through very precise connections. But sometimes those connections are disrupted. The brain processes that give rise to our mind can become disordered, resulting in diseases such as autism, depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. While these disruptions bring great suffering, they can also reveal the mysteries of how the brain produces our most fundamental experiences and capabilities—the very nature of what it means to be human. Studies of autism illuminate the neurological foundations of our social instincts; research into depression offers important insights on emotions and the integrity of the self; and paradigm-shifting work on addiction has led to a new understanding of the relationship between pleasure and willpower.  While this book is about the brain as an organ, it’s also about the brain’s role in making us who and what we are, considering the power and role of memory, emotions, and creativity.  It’s a work that is both wonderfully readable and deeply intelligent.  Publisher’s Weekly agrees, calling it “Highly accessible . . . Kandel’s deep compassion for people is also evident, as when he discusses how understanding the biological basis for mental disorders might take them out of the realm of legal culpability. The result of his work is an easily comprehended, meticulous synthesis of current research into the biological grounding of the human mind.”

Field of Bones: Fan-favorite J.A. Jance has returned with another installment of her stellar series featuring Sheriff Joanna Brady.  As we open, Sheriff Brady.  This time Sheriff Joanna Brady may expect to see her maternity leave through to completion, but the world has other plans when a serial homicide case surfaces in her beloved Cochise County. Rather than staying home with her newborn and losing herself in the cold cases to be found in her father’s long unread diaries, Joanna instead finds herself overseeing a complex investigation involving multiple jurisdictions.  Filled with the kind of characterization and small-town details that make this series such a winner, this eighteenth installment of Jance’s series is being praised by series fans, with Publisher’s Weekly noting “Jance ratchets up the tension …This long-running series shows no signs of losing steam.”

She Would Be King: Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through the eyes and lives of three fascinating characters, whose bonds and whose magic will transform the world around them.   Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, and build a nation around themselves.  This is a powerfully emotive work that gives a voice and meaning to an area of the world seldom explored in fiction.  It’s being lauded by crtics and readers alike, as well, with Kirkus Reviews hailing it as “An ambitious, genre-hopping, continent-spanning novel. . . . Moore is a brisk and skilled storyteller who weaves her protagonists’ disparate stories together with aplomb yet is also able to render her sprawling cast of characters in ways that feel psychologically compelling. In addition, the novel’s various settings―Virginia, Jamaica, and West Africa―are depicted so lushly that readers will find themselves enchanted.”

A River of StarsAnother sensational debut novel here, this one from journalist Vanessa Hua.  Holed up with other mothers-to-be in a secret maternity home in Los Angeles, Scarlett Chen is far from her native China, where she worked in a factory and fell in love with the owner, Boss Yeung. Now she’s carrying his baby. Already married with three daughters, Boss Yeung is overjoyed because the doctors have confirmed that he will finally have the son he has always wanted. To ensure that his child has every advantage, Boss Yeung has shipped Scarlett off to give birth on American soil. U.S. citizenship will open doors for their little prince.  As Scarlett awaits the baby’s arrival, she chokes down bitter medicinal stews and spars with her imperious housemates. The only one who fits in even less is Daisy, a spirited teenager and fellow unwed mother who is being kept apart from her American boyfriend. Then a new sonogram of Scarlett’s baby reveals the unexpected. Panicked, she escapes by hijacking a van—only to discover that she has a stowaway: Daisy, who intends to track down the father of her child. The two flee to San Francisco’s bustling Chinatown, where Scarlett will join countless immigrants desperately trying to seize their piece of the American dream. What Scarlett doesn’t know is that her baby’s father is not far behind her. An unpredictable adventure, a tale of friendship, empathy, and wit, this is  also a closely-observed story about Chinese immigrant’s experiences in the US that is as eye-opening as it is entertaining.  The USA Today agrees, describing the book in their review:  “Vanessa Hua’s story spins with wild fervor, with charming protagonists fiercely motivated by maternal and survival instincts. A River of Stars is a migrant narrative tenderly constructed around Scarlett’s quest to carve a life for her daughter and herself at the risk of deportation.”


Until next week, beloved patrons–Happy Reading!

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