A fiction book recommendation: Fever Dream: A Novel by Samanta Schweblin

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wHwiE8.
The slow creeping menace of her fear, soaked in superstition and local folklore – transforms into the all too real danger posed by the toxic pesticides leaching into the water and the soil from the surrounding soy fields. Masterfully, McDowell captures every nauseating drop of Schweblin’s increasingly frantic text. Truly terrifying.
Book description from Google Books:
“Genius.” –Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker “Samanta Schweblin’s electric story reads like a Fever Dream.” –Vanity Fair Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize! Experience the blazing, surreal sensation of a fever dream… A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.         Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.
The book is rated 3.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 3772 ratings. See 792 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xnZNP8.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xoeLof.

A fiction book recommendation: Plot 29: A Love Affair With Land by Allan Jenkins

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wB4Esp.
This is, among other things, a brilliant and brave book about the psychology of gardening. Many gardeners are over-solicitous about their plants, treating them almost like people, but Jenkins takes this worry to an extreme, seeing himself as a parent keeping his children company.
Book description from Google Books:
‘When I am disturbed, even angry, gardening has been a therapy. When I don’t want to talk I turn to Plot 29, or to a wilder piece of land by a northern sea. There, among seeds and trees, my breathing slows; my heart rate too. My anxieties slip away.’ As a young boy in 1960s Plymouth, Allan Jenkins and his brother, Christopher, were rescued from their care home and fostered by an elderly couple. There, the brothers started to grow flowers in their riverside cottage. They found a new life with their new mum and dad. As Allan grew older, his foster parents were never quite able to provide the family he and his brother needed, but the solace he found in tending a small London allotment echoed the childhood moments when he grew nasturtiums from seed. Over the course of a year, Allan digs deeper into his past, seeking to learn more about his absent parents. Examining the truths and untruths that he’d been told, he discovers the secrets to why the two boys were in care. What emerges is a vivid portrait of the violence and neglect that lay at the heart of his family. A beautifully written, haunting memoir, Plot 29 is a mystery story and meditation on nature and nurture. It’s also a celebration of the joy to be found in sharing food and flowers with people you love.
The book is rated 4.06/5 at goodreads.com, from 51 ratings. See 3 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xfirsd.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wB4Fwt.

A fiction book recommendation: Like Death (New York Review Books Classics) by Guy De Maupassant

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wHepFO.
Drink deeply of this intoxicating, heady work. Reading it makes you realise that when it comes to sophistication, the French, in their writing as well as their manners, make us look like apes.
Book description from Google Books:
A devastating novel about the treachery of love by Maupassant, now in a new translation by National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winning poet and translator Richard HowardOlivier Bertin is at the height of his career as a painter. After making his name as a young man with his Cleopatra, he has gone on to establish himself as “the chosen painter of Parisiennes, the most adroit and ingenious artist to reveal their grace, their figures, and their souls.” And though his hair may be white, he remains a handsome, vigorous, and engaging bachelor, a prized guest at every table and salon. Olivier’s lover is Anne, the Countess de Guilleroy, the wife of a busy politician. Their relationship is long-standing, close, almost conjugal. The countess’s daughter is Annette, and she is the spitting image of her mother in her lovely youth. Having finished her schooling, Annette is returning to Paris. Her parents have put together an excellent match. Everything is as it should be–until the painter and countess are each seized by an agonizing suspicion, like death. . . . In its devastating depiction of the treacherous nature of love, Like Death is more than the equal of Swann’s Way. Richard Howard’s new translation brings out all the penetration and poetry of this masterpiece of nineteenth-century fiction.
The book is rated 3.82/5 at goodreads.com, from 562 ratings. See 43 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xo4VTj.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xo2b8E.

A fiction book recommendation: Fever Dream: A Novel by Samanta Schweblin

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wHwiE8.
The slow creeping menace of her fear, soaked in superstition and local folklore – transforms into the all too real danger posed by the toxic pesticides leaching into the water and the soil from the surrounding soy fields. Masterfully, McDowell captures every nauseating drop of Schweblin’s increasingly frantic text. Truly terrifying.
Book description from Google Books:
“Genius.” –Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker “Samanta Schweblin’s electric story reads like a Fever Dream.” –Vanity Fair Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize! Experience the blazing, surreal sensation of a fever dream… A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.         Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.
The book is rated 3.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 3759 ratings. See 791 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xnZNP8.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xoeLof.

A fiction book recommendation: The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown by Catherine Burns

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2xgFVx7.
Some are heartbreakingly sad; some laugh-out-loud funny; some momentous and tragic; almost all of them resonant or surprising. They are stories that attest to the startling varieties and travails of human experience…
Book description from Google Books:
“Wonderful.” –Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Celebrating the 20th anniversary of storytelling phenomenon The Moth, 45 unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best ever told on their stages Carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of live storytelling, All These Wonders features voices both familiar and new. Alongside Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer, readers will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a “one-hit wonder,” a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s “secret army” during World War II, and more. High-school student and neuroscientist alike, the storytellers share their ventures into uncharted territory–and how their lives were changed indelibly by what they discovered there. With passion, and humor, they encourage us all to be more open, vulnerable, and alive.
The book is rated 4.50/5 at goodreads.com, from 1038 ratings. See 188 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wCb7mV.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xgPAUC.

A fiction book recommendation: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2xecagJ.
A lush tale infused with clear-eyed compassion, this novel will inspire reflection, discussion and an overwhelming desire to drink rare Chinese tea.
Book description from Google Books:
A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives. In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city. After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations. A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.
The book is rated 4.25/5 at goodreads.com, from 14255 ratings. See 2402 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xdSF7U.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xdJdRL.
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A fiction book recommendation: The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2xc4lYT.
Bishop’s voice is breezy and warm, but the book’s real charm is in its celebration of the imaginative power and tactile pleasures of books.
Book description from Google Books:
This story is about a little girl named Property Jones, so-called because she was left in the lost property cupboard of a bookshop when she was five years old. Property loves living in the bookshop, but she has a whopper of a secret … she can’t actually read! So Property doesn’t see the newspaper article announcing the chance to win the Montgomery Book Emporium, the biggest and most magnificent bookshop in the world! When her family win the competition, Property finds herself moving to the Emporium, a magical place filled with floor upon floor of books and a very bad-tempered cat. But all is not at it seems at the Emporium and soon Property Jones finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.
The book is rated 4.33/5 at goodreads.com, from 89 ratings. See 27 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wxZoG6.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wy2WZ9.

A fiction book recommendation: Mississippi Blood: A Novel (Natchez Burning) by Greg Iles

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2s3Wafq.
Operatic in its reach, this is still essentially a tough crime procedural, with courtroom drama that is far more blistering than the John Grisham variety. Mississippi Blood is Southern Gothic delivered in the most incarnadine of hues.
Book description from Google Books:
The #1 New York Times BestsellerThe final installment in the epic Natchez Burning trilogy by Greg Iles“Natchez Burning is extraordinarily entertaining and fiendishly suspenseful. I defy you to start it and find a way to put it down; as long as it is, I wished it were longer. . . . This is an amazing work of popular fiction.”   — Stephen King“One of the longest, most successful sustained works of popular fiction in recent memory… Prepare to be surprised. Iles has always been an exceptional storyteller, and he has invested these volumes with an energy and sense of personal urgency that rarely, if ever, falter.”—    Washington PostThe endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies bent on destroying them in this revelatory volume in the epic trilogy set in modern-day Natchez, Mississippi—Greg Iles’s epic tale of love and honor, hatred and revenge that explores how the sins of the past continue to haunt the present.Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his family and his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, once a paragon of the community that Penn leads as mayor, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction. Despite Penn’s experience as a prosecutor in major murder trials, his father has frozen him out of the trial preparations–preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth of the crime to his son. During forty years practicing medicine, Tom Cage made himself the most respected and beloved physician in Natchez, Mississippi. But this revered Southern figure has secrets known only to himself and a handful of others.  Among them, Tom has a second son, the product of an 1960s affair with his devoted African American nurse, Viola Turner.  It is Viola who has been murdered, and her bitter son–Penn’s half-brother–who sets in motion the murder case against his father.  The resulting investigation exhumes dangerous ghosts from Mississippi’s violent past. In some way that Penn cannot fathom, Viola Turner was a nexus point between his father and the Double Eagles, a savage splinter cell of the KKK. More troubling still, the long-buried secrets shared by Dr. Cage and the former Klansmen may hold the key to the most devastating assassinations of the 1960s. The surviving Double Eagles will stop at nothing to keep their past crimes buried, and with the help of some of the most influential men in the state, they seek to ensure that Dr. Cage either takes the fall for them, or takes his secrets to an early grave.  Unable to trust anyone around him–not even his own mother–Penn joins forces with Serenity Butler, a famous young black author who has come to Natchez to write about his father’s case. Together, Penn and Serenity battle to crack the Double Eagles and discover the secret history of the Cage family and the South itself, a desperate move that risks the only thing they have left to gamble: their lives. Mississippi Blood is the enthralling conclusion to a breathtaking trilogy seven years in the making–one that has kept readers on the edge of their seats. With piercing insight, narrative prowess, and a masterful ability to blend history and imagination, Greg Iles illuminates the brutal history of the American South in a highly atmospheric and suspenseful novel that delivers the shocking resolution his fans have eagerly awaited. 
The book is rated 4.50/5 at goodreads.com, from 8333 ratings. See 1060 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s3t3c6.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s3RUN7.

A fiction book recommendation: Anything Is Possible: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2svnoZr.
Anything Is Possible is a deeply moving, often disturbing and heartbreaking, beautifully written and composed collection of intertwining portraits of people from small town America. It does Lucy Barton proud.
Book description from Google Books:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * An unforgettable cast of small-town characters copes with love and loss in this new work of fiction by #1 bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout. Recalling Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity, Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother’s happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton, the author’s celebrated New York Times bestseller) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence. Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout’s place as one of America’s most respected and cherished authors. Praise for Anything Is Possible “When Elizabeth Strout is on her game, is there anybody better? . . . This is a generous, wry book about everyday lives, and Strout crawls so far inside her characters you feel you inhabit them. . . . This is a book that earns its title. Try reading it without tears, or wonder.”–USA Today (four stars) “Readers who loved My Name Is Lucy Barton . . . are in for a real treat. . . . Strout is a master of the story cycle form. . . . She paints cumulative portraits of the heartache and soul of small-town America by giving each of her characters a turn under her sympathetic spotlight.”–NPR “These stories return Strout to the core of what she does more magnanimously than anyone else, which is to render quiet portraits of the indignities and disappointments of normal life, and the moments of grace and kindness we are gifted in response. . . . Strout hits the target yet again.”–The Washington Post “In this wise and accomplished book, pain and healing exist in perpetual dependence, like feuding siblings.”–The Wall Street Journal “Anything Is Possible confirms Strout as one of our most grace-filled, and graceful, writers.”–The Boston Globe “In Elizabeth Strout’s Anything Is Possible, her stunning follow-up to My Name Is Lucy Barton, a famous author returns to the Midwestern hometown of her childhood, touching off a daisy-chain of stories narrated by those who knew her–memories of trauma and goodwill, resentments small and large, and the ever-widening gulf between haves and have-nots. Strout, always good, just keeps getting better.”–Vogue “If you miss the charmingly eccentric and completely relatable characters from Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout’s best-selling My Name Is Lucy Barton, you’ll be happily reunited with them in Strout’s smart and soulful Anything Is Possible.”–Elle “Strout pierces the inner worlds of these characters’ most private behaviors, illuminating the emotional conflicts and pure joy of being human, of finding oneself in the search for the American dream.”–NYLON
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 12920 ratings. See 2150 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2tOtZSx.
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A fiction book recommendation: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wxlRD6.
Strange The Dreamer both tells a great story and plays with the framework of storytelling…Strange The Dreamer ends with a dramatic climax, beginning to resolve some issues while leaving plenty of mysteries for the duology’s conclusion. There are still monsters left to fight, and Taylor doesn’t lack for wild ways to describe them.
Book description from Google Books:
A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around–and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries–including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.Welcome to Weep.
The book is rated 4.40/5 at goodreads.com, from 15642 ratings. See 4215 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wwUucC.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wxczXT.