New Reads (June 2, 2015–)

In The Unlikely Event
by Judy Blume
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Judy Blume creates a richly textured and moving story of three generations of families, friends and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by unexpected events. In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place–Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

 

Enchanted August
by Brenda Bowen
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Set on a picture-perfect island in Maine, a sparkling summer debut that offers readers a universal fantasy: one glorious month away from it all On a dreary spring day in Brooklyn, Lottie Wilkinson and Rose Arbuthnot spot an ad on their children’s preschool bulletin board: Hopewell Cottage Little Lost Island, Maine. Old, pretty cottage to rent on a small island. Springwater, blueberries, sea glass. August. Neither can afford it, but they are smitten–Lottie could use a break from her overbearing husband and Rose from her relentless twins. On impulse, they decide to take the place and attract two others to share the steep rent: Caroline Dester, an indie movie star who’s getting over a very public humiliation, and elderly Beverly Fisher, who’s recovering from heartbreaking loss. If it’s not a perfect quartet, surely it will be fine for a month in the country. When they arrive on the island, they are transformed by the salt air; the breathtaking views; the long, lazy days; and the happy routine of lobster, corn, and cocktails on the wraparound porch. By the time of the late-August blue moon, real life and its complications have finally fallen far, far away. For on this idyllic island they gradually begin to open up: to one another and to the possibilities of lives quite different from the ones they’ve been leading. Change can’t be that hard, can it?

 

Fateful Lightning 
by Jeff Shaara
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November 1864: As the Civil War rolls into its fourth bloody year, the tide has turned decidedly in favor of the Union. A grateful Abraham Lincoln responds to Ulysses S. Grant’s successes by bringing the general east, promoting Grant to command the entire Union war effort, while William Tecumseh Sherman now directs the Federal forces that occupy all of Tennessee. In a massive surge southward, Sherman conquers the city of Atlanta, sweeping aside the Confederate army under the inept leadership of General John Bell Hood. Pushing through northern Georgia, Sherman’s legendary “March to the Sea” shoves away any Rebel presence, and by Christmas 1864 the city of Savannah falls into the hands of “Uncle Billy.” Now there is but one direction for Sherman to go. In his way stands the last great hope for the Southern cause, General Joseph E. Johnston. In the concluding novel of his epic Civil War tetralogy, Jeff Shaara tells the dramatic story of the final eight months of battle from multiple perspectives: the commanders in their tents making plans for total victory, as well as the ordinary foot soldiers and cavalrymen who carried out their orders until the last alarum sounded.

Through Sherman’s eyes, we gain insight into the mind of the general who vowed to “make Georgia howl” until it surrendered. In Johnston, we see a man agonizing over the limits of his army’s power, and accepting the burden of leading the last desperate effort to ensure the survival of the Confederacy. The Civil War did not end quietly. It climaxed in a storm of fury that lay waste to everything in its path. The Fateful Lightning brings to life those final brutal, bloody months of fighting with you-are-there immediacy, grounded in the meticulous research that readers have come to expect from Jeff Shaara

 

Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne Series:
The Jason Equation
 by Douglas Corleone
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To prevent a war in Asia–one that could quickly spread to the rest of the world–Paul Janson and Jessica Kincaid must learn the truth behind a young woman’s murder… Prominent U.S. Senator James Wyckoff hires former government agents-turned-private security consultants Janson and Kincaid to locate his teenage son Gregory. Gregory’s girlfriend Lynell has been found strangled in a Seoul hotel, and Gregory has fled the city to avoid being arrested for the crime. But Senator Wyckoff insists that his son is innocent, suggesting that Lynell, who was a translator, may have been murdered because of something she overheard at a recent international conference. And when Janson and Kincaid realize they’re being hunted by an assassin, they suspect that this crime–and the cover-up–were orchestrated by a shadowy unit of the U.S. State Department as part of a larger plot to provoke violence between North and South Korea.

ROBERT LUDLUM was the author of 27 novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. He wrote the Jason Bourne series–The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum–among others. He passed away in 2001. DOUGLAS CORLEONE is the author of the acclaimed Simon Fisk series of international thrillers.

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