I admit that knowing that the next BEA will be held in Chicago, this BEA 15 felt different for me. The blogger friends that I made during the first Book Blogger Convention had been my companions every year. This year, they weren't able to attend.
I'm determined not to bring home too many books this year. We just don't have enough room in our Brooklyn home. R has tried to establish a rule that for every book that comes in, I must remove a book. I haven't had as much time to read and review lately and I don't expect my schedule to change.
So, my shortened wishlist of BEA15 books is a mix of books by some of my old favorite authors and debut authors that are showcased at BEA.
I'm most fascinated by the debut authors - not just their works but also their stories of writing and of getting published. My two favorite debut novels from last year were The Queen of Tearling and . Sometimes the authors aren't new, but they're new to me and just as exciting. Among the many authors that BEA introduced me to: Gennifer Choldenko, Suzanne Collins, Kristen Cashore, Deborah Harkness, Kirby Larsen, Alan Bradley (he signed the first in his Flavia De Luce series), and Louise Penny (the Inspector Gamache mysteries).
Debut Novels from BEA 15
(1) The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
ISBN: 978-1-4814-4651-8 Hardcover $17.99
Aladdin (9/8/15), 384 pages.
"Tell no one what I've given you." Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn -- with maybe an explosion or two along the way.
But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London's apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer to Blackthorn's shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he's learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.
About the Author:
Kevin Sands has worked as a researcher, a business consultant, and a teacher. He lives in Toronto, Canada. The Blackthorn Key is his first novel.
ISBN: 978-0-385-35377-9 Hardcover $30.00
Knopf (10/13/15), 944pages.
Meet Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city's largest fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown's punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor; and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park. Their entangled relationships open up the loneliest-seeming corners of the crowded city. And when the infamous blackout of July 13, 1977, plunges this world into darkness, each of these lives will be changed forever.
A novel about love and betrayal and forgiveness, about art and truth and rock 'n' roll, about how the people closest to us are sometimes the hardest to reach -- about what it means to be human.
About the Author:
Garth Risk Hallberg lives in New York with his wife and children. This is his first novel.
(3) Food Whore by Jessica Tom
ISBN: 978-0-06-2387004 Trade Paperback $14.99
William Morrow (10/27/15), 352 pages.
When Tia Monroe moves to NYC, she plans to put herself on the culinary map in no time - until a coveted internship goes up in smoke, and Tia's suddenly just another young food love in the big city.
But when Michael Saltz, a legendary New York Times restaurant critic, lets Tia in on career-ending secret -- that he's lost his sense of taste -- everything changes. Now he wants Tia to serve as his palate, ghostwriting his reviews. In return he promises her lavish meals, a bottomless cache of designer clothing, and the opportunity of a lifetime. Out of prospects and determined to make it, Tia agrees.
Within weeks, Tia's world transforms into one of luxury; four-star dinners, sexy celebrity chefs, and an unlimited expense account at Bergdorf Goodman. Tia loves every minute of it. . . until she sees her words in print and Michael Saltz taking all the credit. As her secret identity begins to crumble and the veneer of extravagance wears thin, Tia is forced to confront what it means to truly succeed -- and how far she's willing to go to get there.
About the Author:
Jessica Tom is a writer and marketing professional living in Brooklyn. She has worked on initiatives with food trucks, restaurants, hospitality start-ups, and city-wide culinary programs. She graduated from Yale University with a concentration in fiction writing and wrote the restaurant review for the Yale Daily News Magazine. Food Whore is her first novel.
For those of us with a love for thrillers, mysteries and detective novels, BEA 15 has brought together a deep bench of authors: Lee Child (Make Me), Karin Slaughter (Pretty Girls), Jon Land (Strong Light of Day), David Baldacci (The Keeper), Nelson DeMille (Radiant Angel), Barry Lyga (After the Red Rain), Linda Fairstein (Devil's Bridge), Chris Holm (The Killing Kind), Andrew Gross (One Mile Under), Mary Higgins Clark (Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories), Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (Blue Labyrinth), John Grisham (Theodore Boone: The Fugitive), Wendy Corsi Staub (Blood Red).
New books from familiar and beloved authors:
In After Alice by Gregory Maguire turns his imagination to the story of Alice in Wonderland with Alice's friend Ada following her down the rabbit hole.
Libba Bray delivers Lair of Dreams, the second book in her Diviners Trilogy.
In Seveneves, Neal Stephenson delivers speculative fiction that asks what would happen if the world were ending? A catastrophe forces the different nations to work together and create a place to live outside of Earth. Five thousand years later, the descendants of the pioneers are forced to find another home - on Earth.
Janice Lee follows her highly successful debut The Piano Teacher with The Expatriates. In The Expatriates, three American women living in a small expat community in Hong Kong find their lives collide.
For those of young at heart who enjoy middle grade and YA novels, here are a few that sound like particularly fun reads:
Upside-Down Magic #1 by Sarah Mlynowski & Emily Jenkins (Scholastic);
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm (Scholastic);
Friends for Life by Andrew Norris (Scholastic);
The Marvels by Brian Selznick (Scholastic);
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (Simon & Schuster)
Looking for a beautiful picture book?
Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt is a humorous treat. Doesn't Ivette and Andree Salom's "When the Anger Ogre Visits" sound like fun?
For those of us who support #WeNeedDiverseBooks, there seem to be a diverse range of voices.
Dragon Fish by Vu Tran
Man by Kim Thuy
Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng
As always, there are books that I missed but that sound fantastic. I'll have to keep my eyes out for:
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead (Penguin Random House)
The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa Decarlo (Harper Collins)
The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker (Little Brown Young Readers)
Zebulon Finch by Daniel Teraus (Simon & Schuster)
A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston (Hyperion)
Theodore Boone: The Fugitive by John Grisham (Dutton Books for Young Readers)
The Witches by Stacy Schiff (Little Brown)
Bloody Royal Prints by Reba White Williams (Tyrus Books/Amazon Publishing)