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
Bunny Hand is our Store Manager and an avid reader. She is comfortable with mystery, especially with a little romance thrown in. Dabbling a little into s-f, she has found a niche in time travel, again, with a romantic twist. Add a historical twist to either category, and she is in.
Former cop Adrian Wall has just been released after 13 years in prison for the murder of Julia Strange. At the same time, suspended Detective Elizabeth Black is about to face criminal charges in the death of two men she shot 18 times while trying to rescue Channing Shore from a basement where the two held her captive. Elizabeth cannot explain why she fired so many shots, nor can she clarify exactly why she is so anxious to see Adrian or why she is so certain he was innocent. There is Beckett, her former partner, who is insistent that she stay away from Adrian; 14-year-old Gideon Strange, Julia’s son who Elizabeth has been close to ever since she held him at the murder scene thirteen years ago; and her preacher father, comforting to everyone except his own daughter. Meanwhile, Adrian listens to the calm voice of his dead cell mate, Eli, who held onto a secret the evil warden could not squeeze out of him. These multi-faceted characters and more are the genius of John Hart, along with a bold story line that twists and turns and keeps this book in readers’ hands (even if they really should be doing other things!)
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!
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
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.
This is a lovely picture book for the special child in your life, written and illustrated by local talent. It is the story of a little boy living in rainy London and his favorite green umbrella (bumbershoot). They have great adventures together until the boy’s family moves across the ocean to sunny San Diego. As the bumbershoot sits in the umbrella stand patiently waiting for a rare San Diego rainy day, the little boy grows and grows into a young man. When rain finally comes, the now-grown boy chooses the big black plain umbrella and breaks the heart of little bumbershoot. Will Lonely Little Bumbershoot ever know happiness again? This is a poignant tale of love and loss and life’s journeys, set in and about our picturesque home town. Find a child to give this to! - Bunny
I have not read such a compelling novel in a while! A three-month-old baby girl is the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Swiss Alps on December 23, 1980. Two female infants were on board and all four parents perished in the fiery crash. Is the miracle baby Lyse-Rose, the granddaughter of multi-millionaire Léonce de Carville, or Emilie, the granddaughter of Pierre Vitral, the poor owner of a traveling food truck? Neither has spent much time if any with their infant granddaughter, and in 1980, DNA genetic testing was still in the early stages. Circumstantial evidence places her with the Vitrals, but Léonce and his wife, Mathilde, never give up and hire private detective Crédule Grand Duke to solve the mystery. After failing to do so, Grand Duke has decided to shoot himself at midnight on the so-called Emilie’s eighteenth birthday. A new clue suddenly comes to him that changes everything. This story of two decades of mystery, secret love, and murder is a hugely enjoyable adventure.
Juniper Song is no longer an amateur detective; she is now a licensed detective and a partner with Chaz and Arturo at Lindley & Flores. She is managing her own cases now, and the one Rubina Gasparian, the daughter of Armenian immigrants, presents to her is most unusual. Rubina and her husband, Van, are unable to conceive a child and have hired her younger cousin, Lusig, as a surrogate, a fact that haunts Song as she sold some of her eggs in college and had not thought about it again until now. Lusig’s dear friend, Nora, has been missing for a month and Song’s job is to stop Lusig from looking for her and putting this much anticipated pregnancy at risk. The case soon changes into a search for a missing girl who was deeply involved in an ugly battle to erect an Armenian genocide memorial, a project severely contested by many. Are the tight knit Armenian community and those that antagonize them capable of murder? Step Cha pulls it all together in an unforgettable and entertaining manner with a tight plot and lots of emotion, presenting yet another great read.
Belsky has created yet another entertaining Gil Malloy thriller in Shooting for the Stars, a gripping story of a thirty year-old closed murder case that is resurrected with the discovery of new evidence. Abbie Kincaid, a New York City talk show celebrity, reveals just a bit of what she has uncovered about actress Laura Marlowe’s decades-old murder to Gil Malloy; days later she is found dead. Now it is up to Gil to investigate the secrets and mistakes of the past in order to solve the current crime. Gil Malloy is a stubborn, very funny reporter for the New York Daily News who will stop at nothing to get his story. Belsky, a reporter himself, uniquely captures the politics and sensationalism that social media has brought to today’s newsrooms. Malloy’s personality makes for a comical, shrewd and engaging story; a truly enjoyable read.
The Carroll family was torn apart some 20 years ago when Julia, the oldest of three sisters, disappeared one night after leaving a bar alone. Julia’s parents, Sam and Helen, divorced, and Sam committed suicide some years later while Lydia, the middle child, finally ran away and Claire, the youngest, settled for a marriage that was comfortable but unsatisfying. Another young girl is now missing and Claire has just witnessed her husband Paul’s murder while fighting off a robber in a dark alley. After the funeral, Claire’s house is robbed and Paul’s partner is desperately seeking a particular file from their architecture firm. Slaughter spins the rest of the story into an astonishing psychological thriller where nothing is as it seems. The pace is utterly compulsive as Lydia now joins Claire in an attempt to combine the past and the present to reveal the truth about Julia’s disappearance. This is a standalone from Karin Slaughter with unmatched non-stop entertainment.
I loved In the Shadow of Blackbirds, so I was excited to dive into The Uninvited, a psychological thriller set in the panic of the influenza pandemic of 1918. The world has been turned upside down by the war and the deadly flu and Americans are paranoid to the point of violence against German blooded citizens. Ivy Rowan, who has a lifelong gift for seeing ghosts, rises from her sick bed seemingly a survivor of the flu, only to discover her angry drunken father and brother have murdered a German furniture maker from town. In disgust, she leaves the farm and heads to town where she is horrified by the breakdown of governing society that the panic has caused. She is drawn to the jazz music played at the Masonic Lodge and to Daniel Schendel, the now sole owner of Liberty Furniture and has no inkling of the otherworldly revelations that are about to unfold. A hauntingly great ghost story.
Leonora – known as Lee in a life that she is straining to forget, and as Nora in her new life as a successful crime writer – is safe in her quiet apartment when she receives an invitation to a long past friend’s hen party (as they call them in England.) Curiosity wins over better judgement and 48 hours later she finds herself waking in a hospital bed with a police guard at the door. “What have I done?” her mind is demanding; however, memory is non-existent. What happened in that glass house in the dark woods of Northumberland with old friends and strangers? It begins to come back to her slowly and it involves her beloved James and the life she had hoped to stifle forever. She must get back to the wood before she is arrested. The story offers non-stop action, pushing at the edges until the very end. Ware is a new author from a new literary imprint
This noir page- turner is alive with history, the intrigue of Vegas, the pain of lost love, and much more. The story brings the Vietnam War era to life, and wraps it with such beautiful prose that you ache for the characters and their convoluted existence. Suzy, originally Hong, is missing; and her cop ex-husband is blackmailed into searching for her by her current husband, a violent Vietnamese gambler and smuggler who has a curious past with Hong. Tran flashes back to the saga of Hong’s and her tiny daughter Mia’s migration from Vietnam to LA in beautiful heartbreaking letters Suzy is now writing to her abandoned daughter. The contrast of violent, crazy, and tender emotions is wonderfully woven together by this debut author.
This is fiction, however, it reveals a real and tragic time in American and Canadian history. Set during the height of the Cold War, the CIA – with the ultra- classified help of the Canadian government – was trying to develop a truth serum and other drugs by performing lobotomies, and administering electroshock therapy and psychotropic medication. Human specimens were needed to experiment on. Who better than the unwanted and defenseless orphans of Cite de St. Jean de Dieu? Fast forward to modern day Montreal where four women are found brutally murdered and shockingly posed on park benches throughout the city over several months. Martine LeDuc is the director of PR for the mayor’s office and is tasked with acting as liaison between the mayor and the police department. Martine pairs with young detective, Julian Fletcher, to investigate the horrific experiments that went on in the 1950’s and determine how they are related to these four murders. Knowing it is based on true occurrences is terrifying.
Mystery & Suspense
A little bit of history, a tad of Downtown Abbey, and a smattering of the childhood game “Clue” combine to make this debut novel an entertaining adventure for the traditional mystery lover. Arlen’s “it’s the butler, in the library, with the candlestick” style is just plain fun. Set in England in 1912, the tale is of the privileged Montfort family, who at their annual summer costume ball find that their degenerate nephew has been murdered. Inspector Valentine has ordered all of the guests to remain at the estate as he interrogates them all. Lady Montfort, a bit ahead of her time in social etiquette, employs the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to solve the murder when she feels the police inquiry is being driven off track and could point toward her cherished son. Arlen provides a lesson in the class struggles of the Edwardian era, an insight into the struggle for women’s suffrage, and a deliciously gruesome murder with unlikely suspects.
Normal 0 The third in the Lunar Chronicles is as enjoyable and riveting as the first two, Cinder and Scarlet. This next take on fairy tales gone bad has Cress, a Rapunzel counterpart, in a satellite tower monitoring the security and activity of the Lunar operations. A prisoner since birth of Sybil and Queen Levana, she has been ordered to track down Cinder and her accomplice Captain Thorne, who have added Scarlet and Wolf to their team. Prince Kai is about to marry the queen in order to save Earth from war. Nothing will go as planned and readers will be captivated by the action and unpredictable plot. If you have not read the series start right now and you will be waiting, as I already am for the final chapter, Winter, due on shelves early in 2015.
This is a brilliant mystery debut from an author who has lived in Japan for more than 25 years. Art dealer Jim Brodie lives in San Francisco’s Japantown, but still has a share in his deceased father’s Tokyo P.I. firm. When an entire Japanese family is senselessly gunned down on their vacation to Japantown, Brodie is asked to help with the investigation by his friend at the SFPD. The investigation leads him back to Japan as he unravels a web of intrigue that stretches back for centuries. The deadly secret he finally discovers threatens his life and that of his family and friends. Thrilling to the very end, with an insider’s view of Japanese culture and business.
Our April 3013 Fantastic First Young Adult Pick
This is a young adult miracle of a novel that will definitely also appeal to adults who love a hauntingly historical story.
The setting is our own San Diego in the grips of the First World War, a bleak and paranoid time in history when young men were terrorized and injured by the latest in war technology, such as machine guns, high explosive shells and mustard gas. Simultaneously, the “Spanish Flu” epidemic of 1918 claimed the lives of at least 20 million people worldwide. The average life expectancy dropped to thirty-nine, and prompted a craving for séances and spirit photography.
Enter Mary Shelley, a precocious sixteen year old whose mom is dead and dad has just been imprisoned for anti-war propaganda. She travels to San Diego to stay with an aunt and is reunited with her long time childhood friend, Stephen, whom she now realizes she is in love with. Tragically, he has just enlisted in the Army and leaves her behind to deal with the horrifying bleakness and craziness of the time. The rest of this tale involves shady spirit photography, desperate measures to fight the deadly flu, glimpses at the atrocious casualties of the war, ghosts, blackbirds, insanity, a few attempted murders and more. As if it needed more appeal, the book is illustrated with haunting early twentieth-century photographs.
Steph Cha’s fine debut novel, much like S.J.Rozan’s Lydia Chen series, is a mystery thriller that incorporates the Asian community and its customs, including corruption and murder. Starting out as a seemingly frivolous endeavor on the part of good friends to dispel a nagging suspicion, the story develops into a trail of deceit that reveals a complex story line. Song, an Asian-American recent college graduate, has not yet landed a job, but has a fixation on noir fiction and Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. When her best friend Luke asks her to investigate a suspected affair between his wealthy dad and his young Asian paralegal, Song has nothing to lose and an itch to scratch. Her first attempt in the investigation lands her unconscious in the trunk of a car and the story continues to advance to murder and a hint of pornography that inflames Song’s memories of her younger sister.
For those of you who read Cinder and said, “I can’t wait…” oh, it is so worth the wait! The Lunar Chronicles continue at breakneck speed with the introduction of Scarlet, the granddaughter of Wing Commander Michelle Benoit, who has some interesting history with Linh Garan, Cinder’s dead stepfather. When Scarlet searches for her mysteriously missing grandmother, she meets Wolfe, member #962, and loyal soldier of the Order of the Pack. Yes, now we have Little Red Riding Hood and the big, bad Wolf, and Cinder, who is busy escaping from prison by using her new found Lunar powers on unsuspecting Captain Caswell Thorne. Fortunately, he is imprisoned for stealing a government owned spaceship, which really comes in handy. IIko makes a comeback in a most unusual way that is linked with this ship as Prince Kai and Queen Levana work, unsuccessfully, to avoid war. Scarlet is the perfect companion to Cinder, and the promise of the third book, and the re-appearance of Dr. Erland make it very difficult to wait yet another year for the final answers.
This is the story of young adults who share something terrible in common, cancer. Hazel, seventeen, is living on borrowed time due to an experimental drug that has temporarily shrunken tumors in her lungs. Her life is not easy since she has to wheel her oxygen around with her during the day and hook up to a machine at night. She is no longer able to attend a regular school but is taking college courses already and is extremely well read and intelligent. She is the only child of two doting parents who insist on her attending a “Cancer Kids Support Group” where she meets Augustus Walters, who will change what is left of her life. Handsome and charming and with only a 20% chance of a recurrence of his osteosarcoma, a cancer which has claimed one of his legs, Augustus falls in love with a resistant Hazel. Their search for Peter Van Houten, Hazel’s favorite author, and their mutual love of Issac, another friend blinded by his own cancer, draw them even closer day by day. Unfortunately, when you live with cancer, every day is a combination of joy and pain, and Green conveys this vividly on every page. As Augustus points out “That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.” The Fault in our Stars is a testament to this saying, so try not to read the ending in public place.
This is a Cinderella story, complete with the adoption thing, dead father, stepsisters and mean step-mom; however, factor in cyborgs, lunars, deadly plagues and threatening war and then you have a real story. Cinder is a cyborg and the best mechanic in New Beijing and has just met Prince Kai in disguise in the marketplace, asking her to repair a broken android that he joking calls “a matter of national security.” Cinder is distracted from fixing it immediately when her stepsister contracts the deadly letumosis disease that is plaguing the earth. Her step-mom blames Cinder for the disaster and volunteers her to the royal research clinic that is experimenting with cyborgs to find a cure. Dr. Erland not only finds that Cinder is immune to the disease but also much more. What he knows about her could end the plague and stop impending war with the Lunars and wicked Queen Levina. When Cinder finally repairs the prince’s android and learns that only she can stop him from marrying Queen Levina, the tale propels into sheer brilliance.
This is Marissa Meyers’ debut novel and she promises three more, all of which I will be reading as soon as the ink dries.
Connie continues her tale of Blackout, a story of time travel from 2060 Oxford to World War II battle-torn London, in this incredible novel.
The story continues with Mike, Eileen and Polly still “stuck” in London during the Blitz. They do not know why their drops will not open to get them back to Oxford, but it is becoming very clear that the long held belief that time travelers cannot affect historical outcomes is probably not true. With every incident that occurs, the three realize that they are in a position to actually change the outcome of Word War II.
The action is fast-paced and the descriptions of a city besieged by German bombs every night are remarkably real. If you are a history buff you must read this book and live in World War II for 641 pages. The end is a rush of adrenaline connecting all the dots, causing you to say to yourself, “ah, now I get it!” Willis throws in a bit of a love story at the end, which, for me, was the crowning glory of this magnificent novel. -- bkh
As usual, I chose this novel after listening to Connie at an author signing. She had me sold when she spoke so knowledgeably about World War II and the time travel involved in the story that transports the reader to the exact moment of incredible events.
Wow, I was not disappointed! It is a history book, a science fiction book and a suspense novel thrown into one. It is set in Oxford in 2060, with time travelers going back to events from the Crusades to the Civil War to the attack on the World trade Center, but focusing on London during the Blitz.
In the midst of this action something goes terribly wrong and Michael, Merope and Polly find themselves without a “drop” to get back to Oxford. Besides being left behind in the midst of air raids, blackouts, rationing and such, the time travelers begin to get a sense and intense fear that they might be able to alter history. There is no real ending which is why I am in the middle of All Clear, the second half of the two book series.
I highly recommend Blackout to anyone who cannot get enough of World War II details, especially London from 1940 to 1945. -- bkh