I think I’ve already mentioned that I love making lists; they’re so handy and helpful! As an added bonus, they can help you out when you’ve completely forgotten to write an insightful and fun blog post. As my deadline for today’s blog posting is passing me by, and I have complete writer’s block, I’d like to present you with the top 20 fiction titles borrowed at the Winnipeg Public Library in the past month.
20 – Winter of the World by Ken Follett (Century Trilogy #2): The second book in the trilogy picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families – American, German, Russian, English, Welsh – enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.
19 – Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Fifty Shades #1): When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. Also available in Large Print and ePUB.
18 – Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan: Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.” Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one. Also available in ePUB.
17 – The Sins of the Mother by Danielle Steel: Every woman makes choices. And no one has made more difficult choices than Olivia Grayson. The enormously successful businesswoman missed out on much of her children’s lives while she built her legendary home-furnishings empire. In Danielle Steel’s character-rich new novel, Olivia faces the past, tries to balance the present, and makes amends where due, while still running her vastly successful business.
16 – Love Anthony by Lisa Genova: From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Aliceand Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life. Also available in
15 – The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman: After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
14 – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? Also available in Large Print, Dowloadable Audiobook, and ePUB.
13 – Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson (Alex Cross #19): It’s Christmas Eve, and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who’s robbing his church’s poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and the children. The tree-decorating is barely under way before his phone rings again–a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. He risks everything–and he may not make it back alive for Christmas dinner. Also available in Downloable Audiobook.
12 – Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum #19): After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track down the con man. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape . . . or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case. Also available in Audiobook CD, Downloadable Audiobook and ePUB.
11 – Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks #20): DCI Alan Banks is back – and this time he’s investigating the murder of one of his own. A respected officer convalescing at the St. Peter’s Police Treatment Centre, DI Bill Quinn, is killed by a crossbow while on the facility’s tranquil grounds, and the initial investigation uncovers compromising photos in his room. Soon after, Professional Standards Inspector Joanna Passero arrives in Eastvale and insists on working the case alongside a reluctant Banks, who’s convinced a police officer shouldn’t be deemed guilty without proper evidence. But the more they learn, the more likely it seems that Quinn wasn’t all he was reputed to be, that his murder is linked to another vicious crime in Yorkshire and to a cold case – the disappearance of a nineteen-year-old English girl, Rachel Hewitt, in Estonia six years earlier.
10 – Bones Are Forever by Kathy Reichs (Temperance Brennan #15): Kathy Reichs is at her brilliant best in a riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan – a story of infanticide, murder, and corruption, set in the high-stakes, high-danger world of diamond mining. A woman calling herself Amy Roberts checks into a Montreal hospital complaining of uncontrolled bleeding. Doctors see evidence of a recent birth, but before they can act, Roberts disappears. Dispatched to the address she gave at the hospital, police discover bloody towels outside in a Dumpster. Fearing the worst, they call Temperance Brennan to investigate. Also available in Large Print and Audiobook CD.
9 – Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge: All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the impending violence becomes terrifyingly clear. With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it’s too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide. Also available in Large Print and ePUB.
8 – The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell (Kay Scarpetta #20): A woman has vanished while digging a dinosaur bone bed in the remote wilderness of Canada. Somehow, the only evidence has made its way to the inbox of Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, over two thousand miles away in Boston. She has no idea why. But as events unfold with alarming speed, Scarpetta begins to suspect that the paleontologist’s disappearance is connected to a series of crimes much closer to home: a gruesome murder, inexplicable tortures, and trace evidence from the last living creatures of the dinosaur age. When she turns to those around her, Scarpetta finds that the danger and suspicion have penetrated even her closest circles. Her niece Lucy speaks in riddles. Her lead investigator, Pete Marino, and FBI forensic psychologist and husband, Benton Wesley, have secrets of their own. Feeling alone and betrayed, Scarpetta is tempted by someone from her past as she tracks a killer both cunning and cruel. Also available in Large Print, Audiobook CD, and Downloadable Audiobook.
7 – The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8): No outsiders are ever admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Quebec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. They grow vegetables, they tend chickens, they make chocolate. And they sing. Ironically, for a community that has taken a vow of silence, the monks have become world-famous for their glorious voices, raised in ancient chants whose effect on both singer and listener is so profound it is known as “the beautiful mystery.” But when the renowned choir director is murdered, the lock on the monastery’s massive wooden door is drawn back to admit Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec. There they discover disquiet beneath the silence, discord in the apparent harmony. One of the brothers, in this life of prayer and contemplation, has been contemplating murder. As the peace of the monastery crumbles, Gamache is forced to confront some of his own demons, as well as those roaming the remote corridors. Before finding the killer, before restoring peace, the Chief must first consider the divine, the human, and the cracks in between. Also available in Large Print and Audiobook CD.
6 – Low Pressure by Sandra Brown: Bellamy Lyston Price was only 12 years old when her older sister Susan was killed on a stormy Memorial Day. Bellamy’s fear of storms is a legacy of the tornado that destroyed the crime scene as well as her memory of one vital fact that still eludes her… Now, 18 years later, Bellamy has written a novel based on Susan’s murder. It’s her first book, and it’s an instant sensation. But because the novel is based on the most traumatic event of her life, she’s published it under a pseudonym to protect herself and her family. But when a sleazy reporter for a tabloid newspaper discovers that the book is based on a real crime, Bellamy’s identity – and dark family secrets — are exposed. Suddenly, she finds herself embroiled in a personal conflict and at the mercy of her sister’s killer, who for almost two decades has gotten away with murder…and will stop at nothing to keep it that way. Also available in Large Print and Audiobook CD.
5 – A Wanted Man by Lee Child (Jack Reacher #17): Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. One man driving, eyes on the road. Another man next to him, telling stories that don’t add up. A woman in the back, silent and worried. And next to her, a huge man with a broken nose, hitching a ride east to Virginia. An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified. Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there. All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride. He has tied himself to a massive conspiracy that makes him a threat—to both sides at once. Also available in Large Print.
4 – The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #3): Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out—with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a tool belt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except apparently Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro… Also available in Large Print.
3 – Mad River by John Sandford (Virgil Flowers #6): Bonnie and Clyde, they thought. And what’s-his-name, the sidekick. Three teenagers with dead-end lives, and chips on their shoulders, and guns. The first person they killed was a highway patrolman. The second was a woman during a robbery. Then, hell, why not keep on going? As their crime spree cuts a swath through rural Minnesota, some of it captured on the killers’ cell phones and sent to a local television station, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers joins the growing army of cops trying to run them down. But even he doesn’t realize what’s about to happen next. Also available in Audiobook CD.
2 – The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling: When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Also available in Large Print and Audiobook CD.
1 – NYPD Red by James Patterson and Marshall Karp: It’s the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos; the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors; and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert-and they can’t afford to make a single mistake. Then a world-renowned producer fatally collapses at his power breakfast, and top NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan is the first one on the scene. Zach works with his beautiful new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald-who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend-to discover who the murderer might be. But this is only the beginning: the most brutal, public, and horrifyingly spectacular crimes they’ve ever encountered are about to send all of New York into chaos, putting NYPD Red on the ropes. Also available in Large Print.