San Diego ~ 5943 Balboa Avenue, Suite #100, San Diego, CA 92111 ~ 858-268-4747
Redondo Beach Satellite ~ 2810 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA 90278 - 310-542-6000
San Diego ~ 5943 Balboa Avenue, Suite #100, San Diego, CA 92111 ~ 858-268-4747
Redondo Beach Satellite ~ 2810 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA 90278 - 310-542-6000
Check out what we (MG staff and friends) have recently read and enjoyed, and other recommended reads.
HOT OFF THE PRESS!
Check out the older not-so-hot-off-the-press reviews from each staff member.
From our June 2016 Newsletter:
The residents of Black Spring can never leave their town because of Katherine Von Wyler, a 300 year old witch who has her mouth and eyes sewed shut. Katherine walks silently through the town’s streets and appears in residents’ homes at random times, including when they eat dinner, watch television or sleep. The town’s populace both fear and respect her because of her power — those who leave town slowly contemplate suicide and eventually take their own life. However, the witch isn’t the only threat in Black Spring. Like all good horror/thriller stories, the horror of Hex lies in its ability to expose the extremes of individual and group behavior. Even kind and smart people are susceptible to groupthink and bloodlust. Hex feels very fresh and original, with truly shocking and unsettling moments that will stay with you well beyond the last page. – Jared
Right from the start of Hawley’s page turner, you know you are reading something extraordinary. The characters are beautifully drawn, the story is tight and compelling, and you will have a hard time putting down this sure-to-be-a-hit thriller.
Scott Burroughs is a painter who is just starting to make a “splash” in the art world when he accepts a ride on a private plane from Martha’s Vineyard to Manhattan. Also on the plane are business man, media mogul, and millionaire David Bateman, his wife, and two children, Rachel, age nine, and JJ, age four. Completing the passenger list is Bill Cunningham, a stock broker who may be in trouble with the SEC, and his wife, Sarah. Fifteen minutes into the flight, the plane crashes into the ocean. Scott and JJ are the only survivors.
Scott manages to swim himself and the young boy to safety, only to find themselves (and the incident) under intense media scrutiny. Much of the novel is the back story of each passenger on the plane, building a link between the present and what actually happened in the minutes before the plane crash. Before the Fall combines the investigation into the accident and the relationship between Scott and JJ to create a compelling drama in the midst of a media circus. Noah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, PEN, and Peabody Award-winning author, screen writer, and producer and this debut thriller is sure to be another winner. –Terry
The fourth installment to this mystery series featuring investigative reporter Ellie Stone may be my favorite yet. Set in 1961 Adirondacks, it opens with the chief of police, Tiny Terwilliger, asking Ellie to take photos of two men who have plummeted to their deaths off Baxter Rock. Their deaths are deemed accidental. Meanwhile, Ellie runs into childhood friends at nearby Arcadia Lodge and is drawn to their nights of wine and music, although she’s drawn to charming Isaac the most. The more she learns about this group of left-wing Jewish intellectuals, the more suspicious she becomes, especially when she discovers one of the dead bodies is a former friend of theirs. Ellie tries not to let her feelings for Isaac cloud her judgment as she wades through long-buried secrets, religious fanatics, and Cold War ideology. This whirlwind romance brings out a softer side to the typically tough protagonist which I found endearing and real. – Sarah
Kit, in the simplest and most unhelpful terms, is a phenomenaut. In the research department at ShenCorp, Kit projects her conscience into synthetic animals, learning about the wildlife around us. But ShenCorp is not without their share of dubious ethical practices and unsavory secrets. Like her, we jump between two narratives, one of her last days in the research department, the other of Kit fleeing from the commercial wing of ShenCorp. Set in the near future, The Many Selves of Katherine North examines identity, corruption, and empathy toward animals and humans alike. In her debut novel, Emma Geen expertly transplants the reader into the minds and lives of animals and keeps the reader on their toes. – Gray
Aunt Emily’s inn is about to host a weekend house party for a few friends and neighbors to celebrate remodeled rooms and new furniture. Unstable antique furniture, unwanted guests, a raging blizzard, and a body turn the pleasant weekend into a locked room mystery with moonshine and southern hospitality to lighten the tragedy. Daisy McGovern, one of the inn’s longtime residents, has too many suspects, too many questions, and very few allies in the search for a possible killer. Rick and Beulah are stranded at a local bar. The recently hired maid is in hiding. The obnoxious husband and wife that are paying guests would love to buy the inn. In the midst of the blizzard, a stranger shows up. Both Daisy and Aunt Emily classify the new man as a fake. Unfortunately, they can’t classify him as a murderer as he found the body seconds after he arrived. As the storm rages and the lights go out, another body presents itself. Join familiar characters as this traditional, stranded with no help, mystery plays out. The tension ratchets up along with the stakes. No one will see the ending coming. This delightful book staggered and leaped in directions I never expected. And I desperately want the next installment as the last page left me stunned. – Guest Reviewer Sandra Hale
Midnight is a boy trying to start a new life. Wink is the wild, unpredictable bright eyed girl who is his new neighbor. And Poppy is the beautiful bully who always gets her way. This is their story. Brief chapters in each of their perspectives make up this tumultuous, twisted story of deceit, love, and jealousy. Tucholke’s ghostlike writing borders on the gothic and its twists and turns leave the characters and readers alike guessing who is telling the truth. The book moves quickly and yet lingers in the best way possible, leaving you to question what—and who—is real. Ethereal, strangely timeless, and haunting, this book stays with you long after you turn its last page. -- Kelly
From Our May 2016 Newsletter:
A young girl running through the woods falls into a pit. At the bottom of the pit is a giant metal hand. The hand, buried for millennia, defies any explanation involving humans. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin and a team of scientists and military staff work together, under the direction of a mysterious unnamed supervisor, to seek out and assemble other body parts, and try to glean what the significance of the dismantled Titan means, and who left it to be discovered. Neuvel deals with a vast array of issues – personal and political consequences, questions of morality and manipulation – as well as fascinating scientific speculation, in a brilliantly crafted debut. – Maryelizabeth
I am satisfied with the events of Night Shift like Mr. Snuggly is satisfied by a full cupboard of cat food. Witch Fiji Cavanaugh, one of my favorite residents of Midnight, finds herself at the crux of the most recent crisis, with some major life decisions to face to try to avert disaster. But first, she must deal with the unexpected and unwelcome presence of her sister. I am very fond of the community that’s sprung up at the crossroads of Witch Light Road and Davy Highway, complete with all their secrets (and connections to the Charlaineverse), and hope that Charlaine will find other stories to share, if not more novels. – Maryelizabeth
There’s an adage that creativity can spring from early hardships or trauma. This certainly holds true for Imogen and Marin, two sisters who have both been accepted into an elite performing arts school. The retreat is not just an opportunity to develop their respective crafts but also a chance to escape their extremely abusive mother; however, there is more to their new school than they realize. Heavily inspired by classic fairy tales, this book is dark yet hopeful, featuring characters with realistic aspirations and pains. Roses and Rot explores how far some will go to succeed and put the past behind them. Kat Howard has crafted a well-written and solid debut novel, already building anticipation for her next work. – Jared
Maestra is the first in a trilogy featuring 24-year-old Judith Rashleigh, a character so bold and fearless you won’t know whether to slap or admire her. She was educated at Oxford as an art historian after being brought up in a lower class home with an abusive mother. Her ambitions and resourcefulness have taken her to some pretty risky places, while she simultaneously tries to make it in London’s Art World and make enough money to live on. When her plans unravel, she finds herself inside the world of the über-wealthy as the companion to a young businessman and begins to use her unique skills to maintain her lifestyle there. Maestra takes many unexpected turns and twists, and took me by surprise time and again. It is like nothing I have read before … and I look with anticipation to the sequel.
I am not the only Maestra fan. Prior to publication, it was optioned for a movie and sold in 43 countries. – Terry
Set in the 1912 glittering world of London society, this Edwardian tale begins with a very private gathering at Hermione Kingsley’s Chester Square mansion to celebrate the 39th birthday of Winston Churchill, the up-and-coming First Lord of the Admiralty. When it culminates with a knife protruding from the chest of one of the guests, Lady Clementine Montford and her pragmatic housekeeper Mrs. Jackson become entangled in the clandestine murder investigation. Chief Inspector Hillary, one of Scotland Yard’s finest, is immediately on the case; however, Clementine cannot refrain from getting involved. She offers Mrs. Jackson’s help at Chester Square in planning Hermione Kingsley’s colossal annual charity event with the express intent of instigating her own investigation. The rest of the story is a delightful combination of the everyday life of privileged classes and their servants, an astute study of England’s pre-war preparations, and all of the makings of a great murder mystery. Arlen, the author of Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, has hit the mark once again for the historical mystery lover. Read both! – Bunny
From our April 2016 Newsletter:
Kali Ling is the first female captain of Rage tournament history. Every week, she and her team fight to the digital death on TV in the Virtual Gaming League’s competition. The Rage tournament is designed to bring top gladiator/gamers together to compete in bloody combat, face virtual death, and most important, to entertain their many fans. Kali and her teammates have died many times. Their weapons and armor are digital, their deaths are virtual, but the pain from fighting and dying is very real. Kali is excited to be at the top of her game until her lover and teammate overdoses. The subsequent cover-up concerning the circumstances surrounding his death makes Kali see the truth. She is determined to expose the League’s craving for ratings at any cost and show the world the high cost gladiators pay for fame and fortune. You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy Arena. There’s lots of action from the get-go with a bit of romance tossed into the arena for those of us who like that sort of thing (me!). For fans of The Hunger Games’ dystopian society or Ender’s Game virtual combat. – Linda
“This isn’t a place for lies or pretending everything is all right. We know everything is not all right. If it were, you wouldn’t be here.”
Stories have been written about those who journey into magical worlds- about magical doors whisking young boys and girls away to far off lands for adventures. But what happens to those who find themselves back in the ordinary world after visiting their Wonderland? Miss West’s school is a place precisely for those boys and girls who long to journey back to their magical worlds. Now that Nancy has returned from the Underworld, she’s lost the only thing that makes sense for her, and her arrival at Miss West’s school gets complicated when strange things begin to happen. This book is both beautiful and gruesome, and its exploration of what makes us different is pure magic. A dark, lovely story about finding hope and finding home. – Kelly
A far cry from Faye’s usual honorable hero, copper star Timothy Wilde, Jane Steele commits her first murder at age five. She lives with her elusive mother in a tiny cottage and both suffer indignity at the hands of Jane’s harsh and spiteful aunt and her perverse son, Edwin, on a lavish estate in the English countryside. Fighting off Edwin’s sexual advances, Jane pushes him to his death and convinces family and investigators that it was an accident. After Edwin’s death and her mother’s suicide, Jane is sent to Lowan Bridge School, a grim school for girls run by Mr. Munt, another evil predator, who eventually meets his demise at the hands of young Jane. Fleeing the school to London, Jane survives, but puts a few more notches on her murder belt. Her mother had always hinted that Highgate House, her aunt’s estate, was rightfully Jane’s and when she reads that the old lady has died, she takes a position as governess to the ward of Charles Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, who now owns the estate. With one more murder in her future – along with love, deceit, greed and some goodness – the story continues in a brilliant and absorbing manner, inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre. – Bunny
Elena Martinez is a tough young woman living in present-day Los Angeles. She’s been a foster kid for years, is about to turn 18, and is facing limited options for her future, until she is selected to be among an elite group of teens sent into the future via Project Chronos by the mysterious Aether Corporation. One of Elena’s qualifications for the project is her eidetic memory, which has served as more of a hindrance than a help to date. Along with four other teens with special contributions of their own, Elena is sent on a 24-hour trip to the future (with a counting clock for chapter headers) to acquire specific information for Aether, with the strict admonition not to look into their own timelines. But when things go awry, will she become a girl without a future again, literally? – Maryelizabeth
Elston, Oregon, in the 1920’s has become a hateful and frightening place for Hanalee Denney. The war, the influenza epidemic, prohibition, and an emerging Ku Klux Klan have bred intolerance and hatred that are foreign to 16-year-old Hanalee, the daughter of a white woman and African American man. She remembers idyllic times with her father, who was killed by 17-year-old drunken driver Joe Adder, a man recently released from prison. Joe is hiding in the woods of Northwestern Oregon since the town folks want him dead after rumors of Joe’s homosexuality, yet another intolerable situation in these times. When Hanalee finds Joe’s hiding place, he reveals that her father was not killed by accident; he suspects Hanalee’s new stepfather was the killer. Hanalee knows there is some truth to his tale because her father’s spirit roams the highway as a “haint” or a troubled ghost, unable rest in peace. The story of these two young outcasts and their attempts to uncover the truth is a triumphant, insightful and gripping history lesson of the time, as well as another accomplished ghost story from Cat. – Bunny
Sixth-grader Xander Miyamoto is focused on escaping his boring classroom and spending his spring break playing video games with his best friend, Peyton, as well as limited family time with his single-parent father and his Obachãn. Xander’s dad gave him a comic book about the famous hero, Musashi Miyamoto, but Xander doesn’t have much attention for it – or his teacher’s lecture about climate change, or the art he has been creating without conscious direction, or the mysterious figure observing him through the rain. All of these matters come into sharp focus when he and Peyton are suddenly drawn into a fantastic adventure with high-stakes personal consequences. Margaret’s updated story of Japan’s mythical warrior and the monstrous Oni is a great addition to the middle-grade fantasy genre. – Maryelizabeth
Family angst. Financial woes. Interconnected lives. The New York Literary scene. Coming of Age. Surprises, turns, and twists. This is The Nest, an engaging debut about one family told from multiple points of view, centered on the four siblings in the Plumb family. The oldest is Leo, who is the catalyst for the current financial woes of his family. Leo’s appetite for excess, driven by an unhappy marriage, results in tragedy for an unsuspecting woman. When the inheritance their father left (nicknamed “The Nest”) is used to bail Leo out of the resultant mess, his siblings struggle with the prospect of losing the funds they have planned on inheriting -- and in some cases, already spent -- for years.
The question of whether Leo will reimburse his siblings leads the narrative, but it is the journey and ultimate growth of each family member that makes this an endearing story to treasure. The buzz is already in the air and this is a book and author to watch. – Terry