Hello and welcome to our look at some new releases at the Johnson County Library! Each month we look at five fiction titles making their debut that we think you should know about. You might not find these books on the bestseller lists, but that's okay, as we love putting the spotlight on books you might not have heard about. Give one - or more - of these titles a chance to make it in your hold list. We hope you find something new!
Tasha Suri is a new and exciting voice in fantasy with her stunning debut, EMPIRE OF SAND. Featuring a daughter of a local governor who has magic in her blood from an ancient and mysterious tribal people, she’s snatched away so her abilities can be put to use by the Emperor and trained in his academy. Along the way, she uncovers dark secrets that were thought long buried. Wonderfully written with a strong YA crossover flavor, This south-Indian inspired dark fantasy series starter has elements of politics, adventure, and romance that fits the bill if you liked THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A. Chakraborty or Naomi Novik’s UPROOTED.
THE COLLECTOR’S APPRENTICE, by book club and historical fiction favorite favorite B.A. Shapiro, begins in 1922 Belgium, where a young woman is falsely accused of wiping out her family’s fortune. (A shady fiancée and his Ponzi scheme might have something to do with it.) She flees to Paris to reinvent herself, and soon finds work as a translator for an American millionaire who is acquiring European art. This plunges her into the intoxicating swirl of the post-war Parisian art scene, where she mixes with Gertrude Stein and Henri Matisse, among others. However, her past eventually catches up with her, and a sudden murder throws all her plans into question, and she must use all the lessons she learned as a con artist - and art professional - to survive. Readers who haven’t already tried Shapiro’s novels like THE ART FORGER or THE MURALIST will discover that her tightly-plotted books are filled with history, suspense, and a bit of romance.
MY SISTER THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite. A razor-sharp novel about a Nigerian woman who can’t help but be jealous of her younger sister, who happens to be beautiful, funny, outgoing - and quite possibly a sociopath who murders her boyfriends. Family bonds require that the older more practical sister care for (and cover up) the crimes of the younger, but when that sibling sets her eyes on a kind, handsome doctor that the older sister was hoping to kindle a relationship with, the gloves come off. Smart, sly, fiendishly wicked, and filled with dysfunctional family dynamics, this novel will please fans who love their comedies black and novels twisty. Similar to Chuck Palahniuk and Jeff Lindsay.
SOMEONE TO TRUST by Mary Balogh. Halloween is officially behind us, which means there’s a good chance you know at least one person who has already put up their holiday lights and marathon Hallmark Channel original movies. For those folks - and yourself, too - we recommend you try Mary Balogh’s delightful Regency series based on the exploits of the Westcott family. Here, Elizabeth Overfield, a widower, finds a connection with a younger man, Lord Hodges. Both acknowledge that connection, but agree that they’re both better off pursuing other people, but they find themselves near each other again and again - including the Westcott Christmas party. There is some connective tissue on previous books in this series, but you don’t have to have read any previous novels to happily jump on board. Historical fiction veteran Balogh delivers a well-written story that will make just about anyone feel warm inside.
LITTLE by Edward Carey. A elegant and quirky historical novel set in France in the late 1700s, focusing on the woman who would eventually become the world famous Madame Tussaud, who was orphaned as a young girl and apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor. Tussaud uses her artistic skills to make realistic wax busts of both normal people and celebrities alike, and we follow her journey from the hardscrabble Swiss countryside to the mirrored halls of Versailles to the explosive streets of Paris on the eve of the French Revolution. Tussaud, who had the nickname of “Little,” is a determined figure who left an extraordinary artistic legacy, and Carey infuses the historical record of her life and times with bright, colorful, eccentric characters, making this novel an absolute delight. Mix the epic reach and delightful characters of Charles Dickens with the whimsy of a Gregory Maguire, and you’ll come close to what Carey is shooting for here.