By Chelsie Harris
One of the best parts of working in the library industry is getting a sneak peak at new titles before they hit the shelves. As a reviewer for Library Journal, I receive an advanced reader copy once a month to read and review. These reviews aid library systems in determining which titles to purchase for their communities. But enough shop talk — here are a few of my recently reviewed novels, which are now available for ordering here at the library or online at sdcl.org:
The Haenyeo of Jeju Island make their living by free diving into the chilly waters of the Korean Strait to gather abalone, crabs, and other sea delicacies. This is an honor reserved for women, due to their superior physical and mental shape, while the husbands stay home and raise the children. “Island of Sea Women” by Lisa See tells the story of two budding haenyeo — Mi-ja and Young-sook — and how their friendship is shaped by undercurrents of war and jealousy. Spanning the 1930s through 2018, each woman’s life reflects the tragedy and grief of the historical events of the time.
“I Owe You One” by New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella (“Shopaholic” series) tells the story of Fixie Farrs, a do-gooder who is always determined to fix other people’s problems. She helps run her family’s shop, which sells a hodgepodge of cookware and hardware, alongside her ambitious (albeit irrational) brother and yoga-obsessed sister. Everything changes for Fixie when her siblings’ visions for the store go in wildly different directions at the same time as her high school crush (and previous one-night stand) returns to town.
Clara wakes up one morning to find her boyfriend, Luke, has vanished without a trace. Camilla Way’s new psychological thriller, “The Lies We Told,” follows Clara as she works to try and put together the pieces — threatening emails, a workplace affair, shady friends — and she slowly discovers a dark secret that Luke’s family has been hiding all along. Could Luke’s disappearance be tied to that of his sister, who mysteriously removed herself from the family so many years ago? The answers lie with a young woman, Hannah, who has an affinity for physical and psychological torture.
“Fearless,” the second book in the “Eye of the Beholder” series by Sarah Tarkoff (first title: “Sinless”) follows 18-year-old Grace Luther as she embroils herself further in the dystopian future. It has been a decade since the Revelations, when “the Great Spirit” saved mankind by forming one religion that punishes wrongdoing with physical pain and deformities, and encourages piousness with beauty. Grace has been serving as a double agent, serving Prophet Joseph as well as Dawn, the leader of the local resistance movement. Taking pills each day that prevent her from punishments by the Great Spirit, Grace risks her life to bring an end to the mind control and manipulation of present society.
Charlaine Harris, best known for the Sookie Stackhouse series that spawned the HBO show “True Blood,” goes a bit Western in her newest “An Easy Death.” Lizbeth Rose is a 19-year-old gunslinger in the dystopia that remains after the United States government falls apart and the country is divided up by conquerors. Living in the southwestern country of Texoma, Lizbeth runs families seeking asylum between the newly-expanded Mexico and New America to the north. When her renegade cohorts are killed by bandits in their latest run, Lizbeth must seek new employment to keep herself fed and alive.
Did you know that you can read many of these titles (and thousands of others) on your smartphone or tablet? Check out sdebooks.org to see San Diego County Library’s full collection of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks. They’re all free with your library card and automatically return when due, which means you never have to worry about late fees. Happy reading, La Mesa!
— Chelsie Harris is managing librarian of the La Mesa Branch of the San Diego County Library.