The Homecoming, by Andrew Pyper (2019)

Horror Fiction
Adult

The Homecoming, by Andrew Pyper

Four members of the Quinlan family – surgeon Aaron, his adored teenaged sister Bridget called Bridge, middle child Franny mourning the son she lost because of her addiction to heroin, and mother Eleanor – gather at Belfountain Estate to hear the terms of Ray Quinlan’s will. A largely absent father and husband, he was a secretive man – no one knew of this spectacular estate, not to mention a sizeable fortune which they stand to inherit. But there’s a catch. The four must stay at Belfountain for 30 days, with no technology or outside contact, starting immediately, or all the money goes to a charity.

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The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (2018)

Science Fiction
Adult

The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (2018)

In this alternative history of space flight, a meteorite strikes in 1952 just off the east coast of the United States, destroying Washington D.C. and forcing the New White House inland. It also spawns a “meteor winter” and future global warming that threaten humanity’s survival, fomenting the development of rockets a full decade earlier than in real life. But historical reality retains its grip in this novel that spans most of the 1950s – racism abounds, as does a chauvinist perspective that limits women to the role of computers as they perform the mathematical calculations that will launch rockets and eventually put (male) astronauts in space.

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter, by Kate Morton (2018)

Historical Mystery
Adult

The Clockmaker's Daughter, by Kate Morton

Here’s another genre-blending blockbuster from Kate Morton, author of The Lake House and The Forgotten Garden, among others. It’s an historical mystery, a gothic ghost story, and a family saga. Best of all it features an archivist! Londoner Elodie Winslow is in her early 30s, engaged to be married though fed up with the wedding preparations and planning expected by her future mother-in-law. She seizes the opportunity for distraction when she discovers an uncatalogued box of items, including a sketch of a beautiful woman and another of riverside house that seems hauntingly familiar. It turns out to be Birchwood Manor, where a young group of Victorian-era artists spent a month in July 1862, a stay that ended with one woman dead and another missing, the theft of a priceless diamond, and a promising artist’s life is ruined.

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Elevation, by Stephen King (2018)

Fantasy
Adult

Elevation, by Stephen King

Here’s an unexpected novella that meets my criteria for a holiday story as we find ourselves needing a break from the shopping and planning. It’s a wee novel, a novella actually, at just under 150 pages. And let me emphasize that while this is set in familiar King territory, it is definitely not horror fiction. Winter is approaching in Castle Rock, where Scott Carey is a web designer with a couple of problems. His new neighbours’ dogs keep pooping on his lawn as their owners, two married women, set out on their daily run. And he’s losing weight, no matter what he eats. At the outset of the book, he’s lost 28 pounds, and is losing a pound or two every day. Astonishingly, his body isn’t changing. He still looks like a middle-aged potbellied man of 240 pounds.

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The Spaceship Next Door, by Gene Doucette (2018)

Science Fiction 14-Adult
Here’s a great new sci-fi novel for young adults with great crossover appeal for adults. Sixteen-year-old Annie Collins lives in Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts, where a spaceship landed three years ago. It landed, and has been sitting there ever since. Nothing happened. No alien invasion, no first contact, no “bring me to your leader” or space rays. Nothing. Nada. Oh, sure the military arrived, and an Independence Day-type motorhome camp has been set up with nerdy tech pointed at the squat black ship, but that’s it. Except something has changed, and government analyst Ed Somerville arrives, in the clumsy pretense of a reporter, to figure out just what is going on. The top expert on the spaceship, he’s never set foot in Sorrow Falls before, so General Morris tells him to hire uber-socially connected Annie as his local guide and interpreter. Read More »

Hole in the Middle, by Kendra Fortmeyer (2018)

Contemporary Fiction
14-18
Hole in the Middle, by Kendra FortmeyerAll teens feel like something’s missing in their lives, but Morgan Stone was born with a literal hole in her abdomen. This “brokenness” has consumed her young life – she cannot go swimming or have sleepovers for fear someone will see the hole; her father was so torn by her deformity he eventually walked away; her mother, an exercise guru who built a career on encouraging women to create a perfect body, persists in sending Morgan to surgeons in hopes someone can fix her daughter. Morgan herself, now 17 years old, is understandably a loner. She focuses on her art, going to school and work from an apartment she shares with her best friend Caroline, though they are still high school seniors. One night out dancing with Caroline, frustrated by a lifetime of keeping the hole hidden, Morgan exposes her truth and unleashes a social media storm complete with sexual innuendo, bullying, and an online following called “We All Have Holes.” Read More »

The Gone World, by Tom Sweterlitsch (2018)

Science Fiction
Adult
The Gone World, by Tom SweterlitschFirst, take your time in reading this book. It is not one to rush. It’s to be savoured, taking time to ponder the latest plot twists as you try to figure out what the heck is going on! It’s at heart a mystery set in a science fiction world, not unlike the film Inception. In fact, I predict you’ll be seeing this story on the big screen in a year or two. Shannon Moss is a criminal investigator for the U.S. Navy. It’s 1997, and she’s called into the case of what appears to be a domestic murder involving a Navy SEAL. A wife and two children are dead, and both the eldest daughter and the husband are missing. But what the police don’t know is that the husband is actually an astronaut whose spaceship Libra and its entire crew is missing, lost during a secret trip to the future. Read More »