Happy New Release Tuesday! There are some really good books out today. I know I plan on reading a few of these.

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Kevin Wilson’s anticipated follow-up to The Family Fang, Perfect Little World is a warm-hearted and emotional story about a young woman charting her own course.

“[A] moving novel about love, parenting, and the families we create for ourselves.” —Library Journal

When Isabelle Poole meets Dr. Preston Grind, she’s fresh out of high school, pregnant with her art teacher’s baby, and totally on her own. Izzy knows she can be a good mother but without any money or relatives to help, she’s left searching.

Dr. Grind, an awkwardly charming child psychologist, has spent his life studying family, even after tragedy struck his own.  Now, with the help of an eccentric billionaire, he has the chance to create a “perfect little world”—to study what would happen when ten children are raised collectively, without knowing who their biological parents are.  He calls it The Infinite Family Project and he wants Izzy and her son to join.

This attempt at a utopian ideal starts off promising, but soon the gentle equilibrium among the families disintegrates: unspoken resentments between the couples begin to fester; the project’s funding becomes tenuous; and Izzy’s growing feelings for Dr. Grind make her question her participation in this strange experiment in the first place.

Written with the same compassion and charm that won over legions of readers with The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson shows us with grace and humor that the best families are the ones we make for ourselves.

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From the author of the acclaimed Green on Blue, a timely new novel of stunning humanity and tension: a contemporary love story set on the Turkish border with Syria.

Haris Abadi is a man in search of a cause. An Arab American with a conflicted past, he is now in Turkey, attempting to cross into Syria and join the fight against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But he is robbed before he can make it, and is taken in by Amir, a charismatic Syrian refugee and former revolutionary, and Amir’s wife, Daphne, a sophisticated beauty haunted by grief. As it becomes clear that Daphne is also desperate to return to Syria, Haris’s choices become ever more wrenching: Whose side is he really on? Is he a true radical or simply an idealist? And will he be able to bring meaning to a life of increasing frustration and helplessness? Told with compassion and a deft hand, Dark at the Crossing is an exploration of loss, of second chances, and of why we choose to believe–a trenchantly observed novel of raw urgency and power.

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The long-awaited sequel to The Winshaw Legacy, the novel that introduced American readers to one of Britain’s most exciting new writers–an acerbic, hilariously dark, and unflinching portrait of modern society.

The novel opens in the early aughts: two ten-year-olds, Alison and Rachel, have a frightening encounter with the “Mad Bird Woman” who lives down the road. As the narrative progresses through time, the novel envelops others who are connected to the girls: Alison’s mother, a has-been singer, competing on a hit reality TV show; Rachel’s university mentor confronting her late husband’s disastrously obsessive search for a German film he saw as a child; a young police constable investigating the seemingly accidental and unrelated deaths of two stand-up comedians; the ludicrously wealthy family who hire Rachel as a nanny–under whose immense London mansion Rachel will discover a dark and terrifying secret. Psychological insight, social commentary, vicious satire, and even surrealist horror are combined in this highly accomplished work to hold up a revealing, disquieting mirror to the world we live in today.

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A sweeping multigenerational debut novel about idealism, betrayal, and family secrets that takes us from Brooklyn in the 1930s to Soviet Russia to post-Cold War America

When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow—and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.

The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations,The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another.

Advance praise for The Patriots

“I found on every page an observation so acute, a sentence of such truth and shining detail, that it demanded re-reading for the sheer pleasure of it. The Patriots has convinced me that Krasikov belongs among the totemic young writers of her era.”—Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed and The Kite Runner

The Patriots is a masterwork, a Dr. Zhivago for our times. It is a novel rooted in characters so real you weep over their tragic fates, so realized you think you’re watching a movie, with sentences so sharp and wise they stop you in your tracks.”—Yann Martel, author of The High Mountains of Portugal and Life of Pi

“Sana Krasikov’s masterful The Patriots works that rare novelistic magic that can sweep us over tumultuous decades, illuminate the workings of history, and at the same time reveal the personal depths of rich, complex characters. This is one of the finest first novels I’ve read in ages.”—Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Empire of Night and The Star of Istanbul

“Suspenseful . . . With scintillating language and transporting narrative command . . . Krasikov dramatizes hidden, shameful facets of history. . . . In a galvanizing tale of flawed and courageous protagonists, erotic and political passion, and harrowing struggles for survival, Krasikov masterfully and devastatingly exposes the ‘whole dark clockwork’ of totalitarianism and asks what it means to be a hero, a patriot, a human being.”Booklist (starred review)

“Ambitious and compelling . . . Krasikov skillfully intertwines multiple narratives and time frames in a sweeping drama that is both a touching affirmation of the enduring bonds of family and a searing examination of the ghastly moral quandaries faced by the subjects of a totalitarian state.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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A haunting, gloriously imagined novel by the acclaimed author of History of a Pleasure Seeker (“a classic” —The Washington Post), set in early twentieth-century colonial Cape Town, and a forest full of witch doctors, stingless bees, and hungry leopards.

It is 1914. Germany has just declared war on France. Piet Barol was a tutor before he came to South Africa, his wife, Stacey, an opera singer. In Cape Town they are living the high life, impersonating French aristocrats—but their lies are catching up with them.

The Barols’ furniture business is on the verge of collapse. They need top-quality wood, and they need it cheap. Piet enlists two Xhosa [pron. KO-sa] men to lead him into a vast forest, in search of a fabled tree.

The Natives Land Act has just abolished property rights for the majority of black South Africans, and whole families have been ripped apart. Piet’s guides have their own reasons to lead him through the trees, and to keep him alive while he’s useful to them.

Far from the comforting certainties of his privileged existence, Piet finds the prospect of riches beyond measure—and the chance to make great art. He is sure he’ll be able to buy what he needs for a few glass trinkets. But he’s underestimating the Xhosa, who believe the spirits of their ancestors live in this sacred forest.

Battle lines are drawn. When Piet’s powers of persuasion fail him, he resorts to darker, more dangerous talents to get what he is determined to have. As the story moves to its devastating conclusion, every character becomes a suspect, and Piet’s arrogance and guile put him on a collision course with forces he cannot understand and that threaten his seemingly enchanted existence.

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A man with no identity… hunting a man without limits.

When a pile of bodies is found in Paris, CIA Agent Tom Blake hustles his way onto a major case: tracking a man with enhanced abilities, the test subject of a secret government program.

There’s just one problem: the man using Agent Blake’s identity is not Agent Blake. He’s Tom Reese, a man without a family or a home.

Reese is searching for his brother’s killer. He stole Agent Blake’s identity two months ago and has bluffed his way onto the team investigating his only lead. But his time as a CIA agent is accelerating toward its expiration date.

Soon the CIA will find out that Agent Blake is in two places at once. Soon the augmented man will come looking for him. And soon both will discover that Tom Reese carries a secret even he doesn’t know about.

He is the last test subject of Project Prometheus.

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Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of THE LACE READER with this spellbinding new thriller, a complex brew of suspense, seduction and murder.

When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.

But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

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Please click here to read my review. I thought this book was super twisty and fun. This book is going to be made into a movie directed by Ron Howard soon. Definitely read it before watching.

https://bookitforward.blog/2016/10/03/book-review-the-girl-before-by-jp-delaney/

In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

EMMA
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

JANE
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

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From New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart, a riveting standalone novel about the unexpected, shattering, and lethal consequences of a one-night stand on a seemingly happily married couple.

Kate loves her life. At forty-four, she’s happily married to her kind husband, Ron, blessed with two wonderful children, and has a beautiful home in San Francisco. Everything changes, however, when she and Ron attend a dinner party and meet another couple, Peter and Jill. Kate and Peter only exchange a few pleasant words but that night, in bed with her husband, Kate is suddenly overcome with a burning desire for Peter.

What begins as an innocent crush soon develops into a dangerous obsession and Kate’s fixation on Peter results in one intense, passionate encounter between the two. Confident that her life can now go back to normal, Kate never considers that Peter may not be so willing to move on.

Not long after their affair, a masked man barges into the café Kate is sitting in with her best friend, firing an assault weapon indiscriminately into the crowd. This tragedy is the first in a series of horrifying events that will show Kate just how grave the consequences of one mistake can be.

An explosive story of infidelity, danger, and moral ambiguity, John Lescroart’s latest thriller will excite and satisfy both his current and new fans.

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If you were inspired by Wild and Eat, Pray, Love, you’ll love this extraordinary true story of a woman taking the greatest risk of her life in order to heal from the unthinkable.

After escaping an abusive marriage, Cara Brookins had four children to provide for and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible.

Equipped only with YouTube instructional videos, a small bank loan and a mile-wide stubborn streak, Cara built her own house from the foundation up with a work crew made up of her four children.

It would be the hardest thing she had ever done. With no experience nailing together anything bigger than a bookshelf, she and her kids poured concrete, framed the walls and laid bricks for their two story, five bedroom house. She had convinced herself that if they could build a house, they could rebuild their broken family.

This must-read memoir traces one family’s rise from battered victims to stronger, better versions of themselves, all through one extraordinary do-it-yourself project.

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The first book for the general public about mindfulness and medical practice, a groundbreaking, intimate exploration of how doctors think and what matters most—safe, effective, patient-centered, compassionate care—from the foremost expert in the field.

As a third-year Harvard Medical student doing a clinical rotation in surgery, Ronald Epstein watched an experienced surgeon fail to notice his patient’s kidney turning an ominous shade of blue. In that same rotation, Epstein was awestruck by another surgeon’s ability to slow down and shift between autopilot and intentionality. The difference between these two doctors left a lasting impression on Epstein and set the stage for his life’s work—to identify the qualities and habits that distinguish masterful doctors from those who are merely competent. The secret, he learned, was mindfulness.

In Attending, his first book, Dr. Epstein builds on his world-renowned, innovative programs in mindful practice and uses gripping and deeply human stories from clinical practice to give patients a language to describe what they most value in health care and to outline a road map for doctors and other health care professionals to refocus their approach to medicine. Drawing on his clinical experiences and current research and exploring four foundations of mindfulness—Attention, Curiosity, Beginner’s Mind, and Presence—Dr. Epstein introduces a revolutionary concept: by looking inward, health care practitioners can grow their capacity to provide high-quality care and the resilience to be there when their patients need them.

The commodification of health care has shifted the doctors’ focus away from the healing of patients to the bottom line. Clinician burnout is at an all-time high. Attending is the antidote. With intelligence and compassion, Epstein offers a crucial, timely book that shows us how we can restore humanity to medicine, guides us toward a better overall quality of care, and reminds us of what matters most.

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“A highly engaging combination of research and self-discovery, laced with some endearingly honest comic moments.” –Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

A revealing, courageous, fascinating, and funny account of the author’s experiment with microdoses of LSD in an effort to treat a debilitating mood disorder, of her quest to understand a misunderstood drug, and of her search for a really good day.

When a small vial arrives in her mailbox from “Lewis Carroll,” Ayelet Waldman is at a low point. Her mood storms have become intolerably severe; she has tried nearly every medication possible; her husband and children are suffering with her. So she opens the vial, places two drops on her tongue, and joins the ranks of an underground but increasingly vocal group of scientists and civilians successfully using therapeutic microdoses of LSD. As Waldman charts her experience over the course of a month–bursts of productivity, sleepless nights, a newfound sense of equanimity–she also explores the history and mythology of LSD, the cutting-edge research into the drug, and the byzantine policies that control it. Drawing on her experience as a federal public defender, and as the mother of teenagers, and her research into the therapeutic value of psychedelics, Waldman has produced a book that is eye-opening, often hilarious, and utterly enthralling.

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A (Serge A.) Storm is brewing for a cabal of bad guys gaming the Florida state lottery in this insanely funny novel from the maestro of mayhem, Tim Dorsey.

If you’re loud and proud Floridian Serge A. Storms, how do you follow up your very own remake of Easy Rider? You shoot your own “episodes” of your favorite classic television show, Route 66!

With Coleman riding shotgun, Serge is rolling down the highway of his dreams in a vintage silver convertible Corvette just like the snazzy car Martin Milner drove. It doesn’t matter that the actual Route 66 didn’t pass through Florida, for Serge discovers that a dozen episodes near the series’ end were filmed (really!) in his beloved home state. So for Serge and the always toked and stoked Coleman, the Sunshine State is all the road you need to get your kicks.

But their adventure traveling the byways of the Sunshine State’s underbelly is about to take a detour. Someone is trying to tilt the odds in the state lottery amidst a conga line of huge jackpots spinning off more chaos than any hurricane season. With this much at stake, of course every shady character wants in. Crooked bodega owners, drug cartels laundering money through the lottery, and venture capitalists are all trying to game the system—and lining up to get their cut. They’re also gambling with their lives, because when Serge and Coleman get hip to this timely (and very lucrative) trip, there’s no telling whose number is up next.

Throw in Brooke Campanella, Serge’s old flame, as well as the perpetually star-crossed Reevis, and it’s a sure bet that the ever lucky Serge will hit it big. Winning has never been this deadly—or this much fun!

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A fun vacation game turns destructive, exposing dark secrets, deeply buried grudges, and a shocking betrayal in Nicola Moriarty’s intriguing debut.

Four friends . . .

Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina have been best friends since high school, sharing a bond that has seen them through their teenage years and into adulthood. But now, time and circumstance is starting to pull them apart as careers, husbands, and babies get in the way. As their yearly vacation becomes less of a priority—at least for three of the women—how can Joni find a way to draw the four of them back together?

Four secrets . . .

During a laughter and wine-filled night, the women dare one another to write anonymous letters, spilling their deepest, darkest secrets. But the fun game turns devastating, exposing cracks in their lives and the friendship they share. Each letter is a dark confession revealing shocking information. A troubled marriage? A substance abuse problem? A secret pregnancy? A heartbreaking diagnosis?

Five letters . . .

Late on one of their last nights together, after the other three have gone to bed, Joni notices something in the fireplace—a burnt, crumpled, nearly destroyed, sheet of paper that holds the most shattering revelation of all. It is a fifth letter—a hate-filled rant that exposes a vicious, deeply hidden grudge that has festered for decades. But who wrote it? Which one of them has seethed with resentment all these years? What should Joni do?

Best friends are supposed to keep your darkest secrets. But the revelations Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina have shared will ripple through their lives with unforeseen consequences . . . and things will never be the same.

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The stunning second novel from National Book Award finalist Andrew Krivak—a heartbreaking, captivating story about a family awaiting the return of their youngest son from the Vietnam War.

In a small town in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains Hannah and her son Bo mourn the loss of the family patriarch, Jozef Vinich. They were three generations under one roof. Three generations, but only one branch of a scraggy tree; they are a war-haunted family in a war-torn century. Having survived the trenches of World War I as an Austro-Hungarian conscript, Vinich journeyed to America and built a life for his family. His daughter married the Hungarian-born Bexhet Konar, who enlisted to fight with the Americans in the Second World War but brought disgrace on the family when he was imprisoned for desertion. He returned home to Pennsylvania a hollow man, only to be killed in a hunting accident on the family’s land. Finally, in 1971, Hannah’s prodigal younger son, Sam, was reported MIA in Vietnam.

And so there is only Bo, a quiet man full of conviction, a proud work ethic, and a firstborn’s sense of duty. He is left to grieve but also to hope for reunion, to create a new life, to embrace the land and work its soil through the seasons. The Signal Flame is a stirring novel about generations of men and women and the events that define them, brothers who take different paths, the old European values yielding to new world ways, and the convalescence of memory and war.

Beginning shortly after Easter in 1972 and ending on Christmas Eve this ambitious novel beautifully evokes ordinary time, a period of living and working while waiting and watching and expecting. The Signal Flame is gorgeously written, honoring the cycles of earth and body, humming with blood and passion, and it confirms Andrew Krivak as a writer of extraordinary vision and power.

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“A tremendous talent. Every page fizzes with vitality.” –Kevin Barry, author of Beatlebone

A young man in a dark depression roams the vast, formless landscape of a Dublin industrial park where he meets a vagrant in the grip of a dangerous ideology. A woman fleeing a breakup finds herself taking part in an unusual sleep experiment. A man obsessed with Nietzsche clings desperately to his girlfriend’s red shoes. And whatever happened to Killian Turner, Ireland’s vanished literary outlaw?

Lost and isolated, the characters in these masterful stories play out their fragmented relationships in a series of European cities, always on the move; from rented room to darkened apartment, hitchhiker’s roadside to Barcelona nightclub. Rob Doyle, a shape-shifting drifter, a reclusive writer, also stalks the book’s pages.

Layering narratives and splicing fiction with non-fiction, This is the Ritual tells of the ecstatic, the desperate and the uncertain. Immersive, at times dreamlike, and frank in its depiction of sex, the writer’s life, failed ideals, and the transience of emotions, it introduces an unmistakable new literary voice.

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