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Suggested Reads for April 2024

Updated: Apr 17

Looking for some book inspiration? Here are some suggested reads for April!


We try for these to be timely with the seasons and focus on newer books that you might have missed or have been popular at our library with our patrons. At the end of these lists, Nichole picks a book or two that she personally recommends.


We just reviewed In The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman and are reading The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon for our next Senior Center Book Club meeting on Monday, May 20 at 11 a.m..


Without further ado, here are this month's picks!


First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston


Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist.


The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Once she’s given a name and location by her mysterious boss Mr. Smith, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job.


Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Ryan has gotten under her skin, and she’s starting to envision a different sort of life for herself. But Evie can’t make any mistakes—especially after what happened last time.


Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to—her real identity—just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn't be higher—but then, Evie has always liked a challenge...



340 pages, Hardcover | First published January 2, 2024



James by Perceval Everett


A brilliant, action-packed reimagining of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, both harrowing and ferociously funny, told from the enslaved Jim's point of view


When the enslaved Jim overhears that he is about to be sold to a man in New Orleans, separated from his wife and daughter forever, he decides to hide on nearby Jackson Island until he can formulate a plan. Meanwhile, Huck Finn has faked his own death to escape his violent father, recently returned to town. As all readers of American literature know, thus begins the dangerous and transcendent journey by raft down the Mississippi River toward the elusive and too-often-unreliable promise of the Free States and beyond.


While many narrative set pieces of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remain in place (floods and storms, stumbling across both unexpected death and unexpected treasure in the myriad stopping points along the river’s banks, encountering the scam artists posing as the Duke and Dauphin…), Jim’s agency, intelligence and compassion are shown in a radically new light.


Brimming with electrifying humor and lacerating observations, James is destined to be a major publishing event and a cornerstone of twenty-first century American literature.


Genres: Historical Fiction | Fiction | Literary Fiction | Historical | Retellings | Race | African American


320 pages, Hardcover | First published March 19, 2024

  


2054 by Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis


From the acclaimed authors of the runaway New York Times bestseller 2034 comes another explosive work of speculative fiction set twenty years further in the future, at a moment when a radical leap forward in artificial intelligence combines with America’s violent partisan divide to create an existential threat to the country, and the world


It is twenty years after the catastrophic war between the United States and China that brought down the old American political order. A new party has emerged in the US, one that’s held power for over a decade. Efforts to cement its grip have resulted in mounting violent resistance. The American president has control of the media, but he is beginning to lose control of the streets. Many fear he’ll stop at nothing to remain in the White House. Suddenly, he collapses in the middle of an address to the nation. After an initial flurry of misinformation, the administration reluctantly announces his death. A cover-up ensues, conspiracy theories abound, and the country descends into a new type of civil war.


A handful of elite actors from the worlds of computer science, intelligence, and business have a fairly good idea what happened. All signs point to a profound breakthrough in AI, of which the remote assassination of an American president is hardly the most game-changing ramification. The trail leads to an outpost in the Amazon rainforest, the last known whereabouts of the tech visionary who predicted this breakthrough. As some of the world’s great powers, old and new, state and nonstate alike, struggle to outmaneuver one another in this new Great Game of scientific discovery, the outcome becomes entangled with the fate of American democracy.


Combining a deep understanding of AI, biotech, and the possibility of a coming Singularity, along with their signature geopolitical sophistication, Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis have once again written a visionary work. 2054 is a novel that reads like a thriller even as it demands that we consider the trajectory of our society and its potentially calamitous destination.


Genres: Fiction | Science Fiction | Thriller | Dystopia | Politics | Speculative Fiction


304 pages, Hardcover | Published March 12, 2024



Table for Two by Amor Towles


From the bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway, A Gentleman in Moscow, and Rules of Civility, a richly detailed and sharply drawn collection of stories set in New York and Los Angeles.


The millions of readers of Amor Towles are in for a treat as he shares some of his shorter six stories set in New York City and a novella in Los Angeles. The New York stories, most of which are set around the turn of the millennium, take up everything from the death-defying acrobatics of the male ego, to the fateful consequences of brief encounters, and the delicate mechanics of compromise which operate at the heart of modern marriages.


In Towles’s novel, Rules of Civility, the indomitable Evelyn Ross leaves New York City in September, 1938, with the intention of returning home to Indiana. But as her train pulls into Chicago, where her parents are waiting, she instead extends her ticket to Los Angeles. Told from seven points of view, “Eve in Hollywood” describes how Eve crafts a new future for herself—and others—in the midst of Hollywood’s golden age.

 

Throughout the stories, two characters often find themselves sitting across a table for two where the direction of their futures may hinge upon what they say to each other next.


Written with his signature wit, humor, and sophistication, Table for Two is another glittering addition to Towles’s canon of stylish and transporting historical fiction.


Genres : Short Stories | Fiction | Historical Fiction | Literary Fiction | Historical | Contemporary | Literature


464 pages, Hardcover | First published April 2, 2024



The Truth about the Devlins by Lisa Scottoline


TJ Devlin is the charming disappointment in the prominent Devlin family, all of whom are lawyers at their highly successful firm—except him. After a stint in prison and rehab for alcoholism, TJ can’t get hired anywhere except at the firm, in a make-work job with the title of investigator.


But one night, TJ’s world turns upside down after his older brother John confesses that he just murdered one of the clients, an accountant he’d confronted with proof of embezzlement. It seems impossible coming from John, the firstborn son and Most Valuable Devlin.


TJ plunges into the investigation, seizing the chance to prove his worth and save his brother. But in no time, TJ and John find themselves entangled in a lethal web of deception and murder. TJ will fight to save his family, but what he learns might break them first.


Genres: Mystery | Thriller | Mystery Thriller | Fiction | Suspense | Crime | Audiobook


 384 pages, Hardcover | First published March 26, 2024



Get Me Carlucci: A Daughter Recounts Her Father’s Legacy of Service by Kristin Carlucci Weed and Frank Charles Carlucci III


Once called “Washington’s ultimate survivor” by The Washington Post, Frank C. Carlucci III served six presidents, traveled the world on behalf of his country, and ultimately rose to prominence as Secretary of Defense. Through every chapter of his extraordinary and varied career, American leaders had a common “Get me Carlucci!”


Get Me Carlucci combines Carlucci’s own words with interviews from his contemporaries and context from his daughter, Kristin Carlucci Weed, who completes her late father’s story while keeping his “characteristic deadpan humor and tell-it-like-it-is sensibility, no frills and no fuss.”


While Carlucci did not seek the spotlight, his work shaped the world. As a young Foreign Service Officer, he weathered the turmoil and excitement of the Congo Crisis of the 1960s, and as Ambassador to Portugal in the 1970s, he played a crucial role in the country’s transition to democracy. With a dynamic mind and a knack for building relationships, Carlucci then returned to the U.S. to serve in Washington. As Deputy Director of the CIA, National Security Advisor, and eventually Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan, he defined American Cold War policy.


Carlucci’s story is one of service, hard work, and true statesmanship as the grandson of an Italian stonecutter becomes an indispensable voice at the highest levels of American government.


280 pages, Hardcover | Published January 23, 2024



NICHOLE'S RECOMMENDATIONS


Last month, I had decided to read another book by T. Kingfisher after finishing two of her novellas. A House with Good Bones came out last year and I remember it had spent a few weeks on the bestsellers list. While I didn't find it as funny as Kingfisher's novellas, the main character was still just as endearing and the plot was unique. I wasn't sure where it was going, but it was fine - I was along for the ride. I'll be on the lookout for Kingfisher's next book.



A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher


A haunting Southern Gothic from an award-winning master of suspense, A House With Good Bones explores the dark, twisted roots lurking just beneath the veneer of a perfect home and family.


"Mom seems off."


Her brother's words echo in Sam Montgomery's ear as she turns onto the quiet North Carolina street where their mother lives alone.

She brushes the thought away as she climbs the front steps. Sam's excited for this rare extended visit, and looking forward to nights with just the two of them, drinking boxed wine, watching murder mystery shows, and guessing who the killer is long before the characters figure it out.


But stepping inside, she quickly realizes home isn’t what it used to be. Gone is the warm, cluttered charm her mom is known for; now the walls are painted a sterile white. Her mom jumps at the smallest noises and looks over her shoulder even when she’s the only person in the room. And when Sam steps out back to clear her head, she finds a jar of teeth hidden beneath the magazine-worthy rose bushes, and vultures are circling the garden from above.


To find out what’s got her mom so frightened in her own home, Sam will go digging for the truth. But some secrets are better left buried.


Genres: Horror | Fantasy | Fiction | Gothic | Mystery | Paranormal | Adult

 

247 pages, Hardcover | First published March 28, 2023

 

NICHOLE'S RECOMMENDATIONS


I have to admit, sometimes, I am scrambling for our Senior Center Book Club ick for the month. Whether it's my own procrastination or like last month where our pick had somehow become extremely popular, we just have to roll with the punches! I thought for April we would want something spring-oriented and decided on The Garden of Small Beginnings.


It started slow, but once you got through a few chapters and realized the author had an odd sense of humor, you became attached to the characters and slice-of-life storyline. There's nothing truly exciting about this book. It's about loss, finding yourself, and the relationships we have around us - every day occurrences. That in itself is what made this book a nice respite from books about murders and historical romance. If you're looking for a break from what you usually read, I recommend you give this one a try!



The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman 


Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.


At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently, being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a

Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.


After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles botanical garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not…

 

Genres: Fiction | Romance | Chick Lit | Contemporary | Audiobook | Humor | Adult


368 pages, ebook | First published May 2, 2017


*all descriptions of the novels and the book covers are from GoodReads.com

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