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Mary DiNunzio is a successful attorney and a partner at the Rosato & DiNunzio firm. Her schedule has gotten complicated, due to her wedding being a few weeks away. However, when an elderly man named Edward comes in for a free consultation, Mary’s world is turned upside down. Edward’s grandson, Patrick, is being sued by a teacher’s aide for assault. Sadly, it is this shy, dyslexic boy who bears the markings of abuse. As Mary becomes more involved in finding out the truth, she becomes the only chance Patrick has at surviving and leading a healthy life. Is Mary going to lose everything she has in order to protect Patrick, or will the evidence prove Mary wrong?
Lisa Scottoline packs a powerful punch in this novel. Despite it being the fourth in a series, the plot works well as a stand-alone story. Readers, like Mary, will be drawn in right from the moment they meet Patrick and they will be kept guessing as they try to figure out the truth through all the multiple twists and intense secondary storylines. Damaged is a book that weaves its way into readers’ hearts. The author does an excellent job at showing the current struggles children with learning disorders face on a daily basis. Filled with a large family, human emotions, and one dramatic courtroom scene, readers of literature and mysteries will devour this book.
Damaged by Lisa Scottoline, recommended by Nicole at My Sisters Books, Pawleys Island, SC.
The world is a beautiful place, don't you think? Not because it is, but because I see it that way.
The title is the first thing I noticed about this book, but it definitely wasn't what kept me reading it--the writing itself took care of that.
This entire novel is ONE sentence. This is a book meant to be devoured in one sitting--you may not stop to catch your breath. Hrabal is a master and he does something really special here.
Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age By Bohumil Hrabal ($14, NYRB Classics) Recommended by O.B. at Scuppernong Books Greensboro NC
The eye of this whirlwind of narcos, chance, mezcal, fate and the opposing wills of la Virgen Guadalupe and Santa Muerte takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico. In a wild chase for Montezuma's funerary mask, these characters forge and recombine alliances as easily and often as a kaleidoscope. The world of posh art collectors clashes with the underbelly they rely on to supply their expensive tastes. Sultry and serrated as a desert landscape, punctuated with humor and polished one-liners. All business, all personal.
Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright (Marian Wood Books/Putnam, $26), recommended by Amanda at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.
Eden, a world where no sunlight reaches the surface, illuminated only by the lantern flowers hanging from the trees above, is home to descendents of the two survivors of a crash-landed ship, generations removed from Earth.
Beckett masterfully brings this strange and alien world to life as a small group pushes out from their small valley of light. Highly recommended for fans of well-written science-fiction.
Dark Eden by Chris Beckett ($15, Broadway Books), recommended by Ted, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
A fast-paced little noir that constantly circles around the conventions of its genre (sex, drugs, murder), and instead manages to become more of a meditation on hopeless desire than a pure, simple crime novel.
Day In, Day Out by Hector Aguilar Camin ($14.95*, Schaffner Press), recommended by Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC.
It turns out that Vivian Howard, in addition to being an award-winning chef, restaurateur, and star of the PBS show A Chef's Life, is also a talented writer. She tells the story of her life and community through each chapter devoted to a different vegetable. While our event with Vivian later this month has sold out, we do have plenty of signed copies of this big, beautiful and delicious tribute to the food, farmers and cooks of eastern North Carolina.
Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South by Vivian Howard ($40, Little Brown), recommended by Mamie at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
A family vacation in the Rocky Mountains turns tragic when a young girl goes missing.
Her younger brother is the only one who remembers what happened and is overcome by guilt and denial. The parent’s relationship disintegrates while their young daughter’s whereabouts remain a mystery.
You will not be able to put this one down.
Every character is significant to the plot development. There is nothing rushed or gimmicky about this literary thriller. It is a page turner, but only because you want to see how each character is living despite a set of terrible circumstances.
Easily the best book I’ve read in 5 years. Descent by Tim Johnston (Algonquin) Recommended by Stefani at Inkwood Books Tampa FL
Desperation Dinners has been one of the most influential and necessary tools in my kitchen for many years. This book may persuade you to believe you've found another 30 to 60 minutes during the dinner hour. It provides authentic and realistic tips, instructions and recipes to help even the most harried cook create tasty, nutritious and satisfying dishes in 20 minutes or less. Really--20 minutes or less. Mom's Mini Meat Loaves defy belief by tasting every bit as good as traditional meat loaf with 2/3 less prep/cook time, and the So-Simple Salsa is so good and so fast to prepare, that you will never let let another chip go without it. You owe it to yourself, and your overworked day planner app, to welcome this book into your kitchen.
Desperation Dinners by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross (Workman $13.95) by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross, recommended by Belinda at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.
There is a tension and stark beauty that pervades all pages of Smith’s novel. It delivers blunt, realistic dialogue and long, beautiful run-on sentences that never manage to trip over themselves. Smith is unquestionably a craftsman of the highest order. He managed to surprise me several times, only to have that surprise seem inevitable in retrospect. This is the first ‘grit lit’ novel I’ve picked up and been enchanted by, so I don’t have any ready comparisons to Ron Rash or Tom Franklin for you, although they seem equally impressed by Smith to go by their blurbs on the cover of the book. I will say that this is sharp Southern fiction at its finest, and I encourage you not to miss it.
Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith ($26, Lee Boudreaux Books), recommended by Andrew, Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS.
A team of two opposites (a sleepy, slumpy toad and a quick-witted, high-energy mouse) find common ground in a love of cake and solving mysteries. A Swedish import that is as gentle as it is engrossing. One of my absolute favorite series!
Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson ($16.99, Gecko Press), recommended by the Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.
Let me be clear: I love short story collections. When done well, short stories can hold great literary (and personal) value to me. Most collections have a few stories that aren't on par with the rest and one or two stellar stories. Difficult Women is not like this. Each story feels real, often magical, but always tangible. Some are allegories, some are simply insightful, while others are brimming with emotion--and they are all excellent. Read more at Foggy Pine Books’ blog…
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay ($25.00, Grove Press), recommended by Mary, Foggy Pine Books, Boone, NC.
A teenager disappears into the woods one night under mysterious-- and spooky-- circumstances, but his mother believes there's something more sinister going on. Revolving around an old legend and a fantastic set piece-- a giant split rock in the woods known as Devil's Rock-- Paul Tremblay's latest novel does an excellent job building the mystery before it hits you with the true horror of what happened that night. Also recommended: A Head Full of Ghosts, Tremblay's previous scary novel!
Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay ($14.99*, William Morrow & Company), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.
Catherine is a happily married successful TV documentary maker with a 25 year old son. Stephen is a washed up, disgraced teacher who is still grieving the recent death of his wife and that of his son 20 years earlier.
They have never met each other and neither realizes that the same event in the past will soon have serious repercussions on both of their lives. Catherine thought she was protecting herself and her family when she chose to keep secret the events of 20 years ago. Stephen thinks he is doing what his wife would want and is seeking revenge for what he thinks happened 20 years ago.
They are both wrong as will be seen in this unique and unusual psychological thriller.
Disclaimer by Renee Knight (HarperCollins) Recommended by Nancy at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC
You think you know Mississippi? I bet you don't know THIS Mississippi. Dispatches from Pluto sheds bright light on a Mississippi that is is confounding and confusing and at times horrifically entertaining.
This book should be required reading for anyone born and raised in Mississippi, especially those of us who chose to leave. Large portions of Richard Grant's life in The Delta is probably unbelievable to those who have never experienced the rural South. I love the way Grant examines his friendships with those who hold vastly different viewpoints. It is healthy and respectful relationships with those that have different values that make us better people.
Dispatches from Pluto by Richard Grant ($16.00*, Simon & Schuster), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.
From Parnassus Books’ blog: "I’m pretty sure that what Maile has written is a blockbuster, a bestseller, the hot book of summer. Do Not Become Alarmed is too well-written to be written off as a mere thriller, and yet it’s undeniably thrilling. It’s the story of two families, old friends, who decide to take a cruise and wind up losing their children. That’s big, and still the book is bigger than that: it’s a novel about race and class, poverty and privilege, marriage and desire, and the quest to be a perfect parent while still being yourself. It’s a book filled with rage and guilt in which the most casual actions have lasting consequences. Maile knows how to get the reader’s adrenaline pumping, but she also assumes the reader is as smart and complicated and curious as she is.” Keep reading...
Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy ($27.00, Riverhead Books), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.
The follow-up to The Shining, King's latest novel marks a return to the style of books such as It and Salem's Lot, a world of unrelenting horror, of things that go bump in the night.
Seamlessly weaving supernatural demons with his character's own internal battles, King transcends the traditional horror narrative and presents a novel concerned with the very real tension between good and evil.
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (Scribner) Recommended by Kaitlyn at Square Books Oxford MS.