What are you reading before you get your turn for that wildly popular new title? Here are some more suggestions to consider while you're waiting.
Jana Bib's Excellent Fortunes by Betsy Woodman. Janet Laird's life changed the day she inherited her grandfather's house in a faraway Indian hill station. Ignoring her son's arguments to come grow old in their family castle in Scotland, she moves with her chatty parrot, Mr. Ganguly and her loyal housekeeper, Mary, to Hamara Nagar, where local merchants are philosophers, the chief of police is a tyrant, and a bagpipe-playing Gurkha keeps the wild monkeys at bay. When word gets out that the town is in danger of being drowned by a government dam, Jana is enlisted to help put it on the map.
Whiplash River by Lou Berney. Having left his life of crime behind, former getaway driver Charles "Shake" Bouchon has finally realized the dream of owning his own restaurant in Belize. Unfortunately, to do so he's had to go deep in debt to a murderous local drug lord named Baby Jesus. And when Shake thwarts an attempted hit on an elderly customer named Quinn, things go from bad to worse.
Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez. Linda McKinney is a myrmecologist, a scientist who studies the social structure of ants. Her academic career has left her entirely unprepared for the day her sophisticated research is conscripted by unknown forces to help run an unmanned—and thanks to her research, automated—drone army. Odin is the secretive Special Ops soldier with a unique insight into the faceless enemy who has begun to attack the American homeland with drones programmed to seek, identify, and execute targets without human intervention. Together, McKinney and Odin must slow this advance long enough for the world to recognize its destructive power, because for thousands of years the “kill decision” during battle has remained in the hands of humans—and off-loading that responsibility to machines will bring unintended, possibly irreversible, consequences.
Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace. Just outside London, behind a high stone wall, lies Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, Anna Palmer becomes its newest patient. To Anna’s dismay, her new husband has declared her in need of treatment and brought her to this shabby asylum. Confused and angry, Anna sets out to prove her sanity, but with her husband and doctors unwilling to listen, her freedom will not be won easily. As the weeks pass, she finds other allies, yet the longer Anna remains at Lake House, the more she realizes that nothing and no one is quite as it appears. Not her fellow patients, her husband, her family—not even herself.
The Playdate by Louise Millar. When Callie moved into her new neighborhood, she thought it would be easy to fit in. The other parents have been strangely hostile, though, and her frail daughter Rae is finding it impossible to make friends. Suzy, with her rich husband and her three energetic children, has been the only one to reach out, although their friendship has recently felt inexplicably strained. Now the police have suggested that someone dangerous may be living in their neighborhood, and the atmosphere feels even more toxic. Then there’s the matter of Callie’s ex-husband, and the shocking truth behind their divorce . . . a truth that she would do anything to hide.
Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer. What is a "normal" life? For Sunny, it means wearing a blond wig (she’s been bald since birth), medicating her autistic son (who wears a helmet because he bangs his head against walls), and teaching her brilliant but socially clueless husband, Maxon, how to interact with other humans (they whiteboard equations so he knows how to respond to compliments). When Sunny’s wig falls off during a car accident, exposing her bare head to her neighbors for the first time, she starts to realize that this "normal" life she has built is actually a huge problem. Everything about Shine, Shine, Shine is charmingly odd, full of feeling, and beautifully written.
The Collective by Don Lee. In 1988, Eric Cho, an aspiring writer, arrives at Macalester College. On his first day he meets a beautiful fledgling painter, Jessica Tsai, and another would-be novelist, the larger-than-life Joshua Yoon. Brilliant, bawdy, generous, and manipulative, Joshua alters the course of their lives, rallying them together when they face an adolescent act of racism. As adults in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the three friends reunite as the 3AC, the Asian American Artists Collective—together negotiating the demands of art, love, commerce, and idealism until another racially tinged controversy hits the headlines, this time with far greater consequences.
So Far Away by Meg Mitchell Moore.Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents' ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. Adrift, confused, she is a girl trying to find her way in a world that seems to either neglect or despise her. Her salvation arrives in an unlikely form: Bridget O'Connell, an Irish maid working for a wealthy Boston family. The catch? Bridget lives only in the pages of a dusty old 1920s diary Natalie unearthed in her mother's basement.
Renegades by Thomas W. Young. A catastrophic earthquake ravages Afghanistan, and American troops rush to deliver aid, among them Afghan Air Force adviser Lieutenant Colonel Michael Parson, and his interpreter, Sergeant Major Sophia Gold. The devastation facing them is like nothing they’ve ever seen, however—and it’s about to get worse. A Taliban splinter group, Black Crescent, is conducting its own campaign—shooting medical workers, downing helicopters, slaughtering anyone who dares to accept aid. With the U.S. drawing down and coalition forces spread thin, it is up to Parson, Gold, and Parson’s Afghan aircrews to try to figure out how to strike back. But they’re short of supplies, men, experience, and information—and meanwhile the terrorists seem to be nowhere . . . and everywhere.
Hell or High Water by Joy Castro. Nola Céspedes, an ambitious young reporter at the Times-Picayune, finally catches a break: an assignment to write her first full-length feature. While investigating her story, she also becomes fixated on the search for a missing tourist in the French Quarter. As Nola’s work leads her into a violent criminal underworld, she’s forced to face disturbing truths from her own past and is confronted with the question: In the aftermath of devastation, who is responsible for rebuilding what's been broken?
Say Nice Things About Detroit by Scott Lasser. Twenty-five years after his high school graduation, David Halpert returns to a place that most people flee. But David is making his own escape—from his divorce and the death of his son. In Detroit, David learns about the double shooting of his high school girlfriend Natalie and her black half-brother, Dirk. As David becomes involved with Natalie’s sister, he will discover that both he and his hometown have reasons to hope.
Strong Vengeance by Jon Land. 1818: In the Gulf waters off the Texas coast, the pirate Jean Lefitte and his partner Jim Bowie launch an attack on the Mother Mary, a slave ship carrying an invaluable treasure.
The Present: Fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong finds herself investigating the murder of the oil rig crew that had found the long-lost wreckage of the Mother Mary. The crew also uncovered something else beneath the surface of the sea—something connected to a terrorist attack about to be launched by a mad American-born cleric who has recruited an army of homegrown terrorists.