Picture in the Sand, by Peter Blauner
When Alex Hassan gets accepted to an Ivy League university, his middle-class Egyptian-American family is filled with pride and excitement. But that joy turns to shock when they discover that he’s run off to the Middle East to join a holy war instead. When he refuses to communicate with everyone else, his loving grandfather Ali emails him one last plea. If Alex will stay in touch, his grandfather will share with Alex – and only Alex – a manuscript containing the secret story of his own life that he’s kept hidden from his family, until now.
It’s the tale of his romantic and heartbreaking past rooted in Hollywood and the post-revolutionary Egypt of the 1950s, when young Ali was a movie fanatic who attained a dream job working for the legendary director Cecil B. DeMille on the set of his epic film, The Ten Commandments. But Ali’s vision of a golden future as an American movie mogul gets upended when he is unwittingly caught up in a web of politics, espionage, and real-life events that change the course of history.
It’s a narrative he’s told no one for more than a half-century. But now he’s forced to unearth the past to save a young man who’s about to make the same tragic mistakes he made so long ago.
American Afterlife, by Pedro Hoffmeister
A 9.2-magnitude earthquake strikes the West Coast. Buildings collapse. Bridges fall. Nine dams fail and flood Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The city of Eugene is suddenly submerged underwater with only a few neighborhoods above waterline still left standing.
Fifteen-year-old Cielo Wolfgang has been living with her mom in a rented garage in Eugene. Separated when the quake hit, Cielo hides from emergency workers as they evacuate residents, determined to find her mother in her disaster-ravaged neighborhood. As Cielo picks through the aftermath for anything she can use to survive, she discovers she’s not as alone as she thinks. An extremist alt-right cult called The Collection of Redeemed Souls has been rounding up survivors, and when they find out about Cielo, her solitary existence is shattered as she scrambles to stay a step ahead of them.
The Deluge, by Stephen Markley
In the first decades of the 21st century, the world is convulsing, its governments mired in gridlock while a patient but unrelenting ecological crisis looms. America is in upheaval, battered by violent weather and extreme politics. In California in 2013, Tony Pietrus, a scientist studying deposits of undersea methane, receives a death threat. His fate will become bound to a stunning cast of characters—a broken drug addict, a star advertising strategist, a neurodivergent mathematician, a cunning eco-terrorist, an actor turned religious zealot, and a brazen young activist named Kate Morris, who, in the mountains of Wyoming, begins a project that will alter the course of the decades to come.
From the Gulf Coast to Los Angeles, the Midwest to Washington, DC, their intertwined odysseys unfold against a stark backdrop of accelerating chaos as they summon courage, galvanize a nation, fall to their own fear, and find wild hope in the face of staggering odds. As their stories hurtle toward a spectacular climax, each faces a reckoning: what will they sacrifice to salvage humanity’s last chance at a future? A singular achievement, The Deluge is a once-in-a-generation novel that meets the moment as few works of art ever have.
The Album, by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Even in the early 1930s, Crescent Place is a neighborhood out of the past. The five Victorian mansions and the remote patch of pasture placed between them have the air of the 1890s, even as the city—once miles away from this idyllic retreat—encroaches and surrounds the enclave. But while these rarified residences may appear calm on the outside, their isolated interiors contain dark secrets, prolonged feuds, and generations of high-toned trouble.
In these houses are a husband and wife who fight constantly, and another couple who hasn’t spoken to each other in two decades. There is a widow in permanent mourning and a daughter whom the newspapers call psychotic. And there is a bedridden old woman who is about to be killed with an ax.
When her murder shatters the well-mannered quiet of the cul-de-sac, the tabloids delight in trumpeting Crescent Place’s peculiarities. But as the search for the killer intensifies, it becomes clear that the area’s strangest secrets have yet to be revealed.
Peg and Rose Solve a Murder (Senior Sleuths #1), by Laurien Berenson
In the world of award-winning author Laurien Berenson’s Melanie Travis Canine Mysteries, Peg Turnbull and Rose Donovan, Melanie’s chalk-and-cheese aunts, are especially beloved by readers. Now feisty Peg and sweet-natured Rose are putting their distinct differences to good use and joining forces as senior sleuths in a witty, warmhearted new mystery series . . .
Rose Donovan looks for the good in everyone. With her sister-in-law, Peg, that sometimes requires a lot of searching. Even a sixty-something former nun like Rose has her limits, and gruff Peg Turnbull sure knows how to push them. But after forty years of bickering, they’re attempting to start over, partnering up to join the local bridge club.
Peg and Rose barely have a chance to celebrate their first win before one of the club’s most accomplished players is killed in his home. As the newest members, the sisters-in-law come under scrutiny and decide to start some digging of their own. Bridge is typically seen as a wholesome pastime, yet this group of senior citizens harbors a wealth of vices, including gambling, cheating, and adultery . . .
By comparison, Peg and Rose’s fractious relationship is starting to feel almost functional. But as their suspect list narrows, they’re unaware that their logic has a dangerous flaw. And they’ll have to hope that their teamwork holds steady when they’re confronted by a killer who’s through with playing games . . .
Independence, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
India, 1947. In a rural village in Bengal live three sisters, daughters of a well-respected doctor.
Priya: intelligent and idealistic, resolved to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor, though society frowns on it.
Deepa: the beauty, determined to make a marriage that will bring her family joy and status.
Jamini: devout, sharp-eyed, and a talented quiltmaker, with deeper passions than she reveals.
Theirs is a home of love and safety, a refuge from the violent events taking shape in the nation. Then their father is killed during a riot, and even their neighbors turn against them, bringing the events of their country closer to home.
As Priya determinedly pursues her career goal, Deepa falls deeply in love with a Muslim, causing her to break with her family. And Jamini attempts to hold her family together, even as she secretly longs for her sister’s fiancé.
Big Chicas Don’t Cry, by Annette Chavez Macias
Fifteen years later, Mari’s got the big house and handsome husband, but her life is in shambles. Erica’s boyfriend just dumped her, and her new boss hates her. Selena can’t seem to find her place in the world―not Mexican enough for her family, not white enough for her colleagues. And Gracie is a Catholic school teacher with an all-consuming crush, but she can’t trust herself when it comes to romance. As rocky as the cousins’ lives have become, nothing can prepare them for the heartbreaking loss of a loved one. When tragedy reunites them, will they remember their abuelita’s lessons about family and forgiveness―or are fifteen years of separation too much to overcome?
The Nightmare Man, by J.H. Markert
T. Kingfisher meets Cassandra Khaw in a chilling horror novel that illustrates the fine line between humanity and monstrosity.
Blackwood mansion looms, surrounded by nightmare pines, atop the hill over the small town of New Haven. Ben Bookman, bestselling novelist and heir to the Blackwood estate, spent a weekend at the ancestral home to finish writing his latest horror novel, The Scarecrow. Now, on the eve of the book’s release, the terrible story within begins to unfold in real life.
Detective Mills arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder: a family butchered and bundled inside cocoons stitched from corn husks, and hung from the rafters of a barn, eerily mirroring the opening of Bookman’s latest novel. When another family is killed in a similar manner, Mills, along with his daughter, rookie detective Samantha Blue, is determined to find the link to the book—and the killer—before the story reaches its chilling climax.
As the series of “Scarecrow crimes” continues to mirror the book, Ben quickly becomes the prime suspect. He can’t remember much from the night he finished writing the novel, but he knows he wrote it in The Atrium, his grandfather’s forbidden room full of numbered books. Thousands of books. Books without words.
As Ben digs deep into Blackwood’s history he learns he may have triggered a release of something trapped long ago—and it won’t stop with the horrors buried within the pages of his book.
In the Upper Country, by Kai Thomas
In the 1800s in Dunmore, a Canadian town settled by people fleeing enslavement in the American south, young Lensinda Martin works for a crusading Black journalist.
One night, a neighboring farmer summons Lensinda after a slave hunter is shot dead on his land by an old woman who recently arrived via the Underground Railroad. When the old woman refuses to flee before the authorities arrive, the farmer urges Lensinda to gather testimony from her before she can be condemned for the crime.
But the old woman doesn’t want to confess. Instead she proposes a barter: a story for a story. And so begins an extraordinary exchange of tales that reveal an interwoven history of Black and Indigenous peoples in a wide swath of what is called North America.
Traveling along the path of the Underground Railroad from Virginia to Michigan, from the Indigenous nations around the Great Lakes, to the Black refugee communities of Canada, In the Upper Country weaves together unlikely stories of love, survival, and familial upheaval that map the interconnected history of the peoples of North America in an entirely new and resonant way.
Wayward (Wanderers #2), Chuck Wendig
Five years ago, ordinary Americans fell under the grip of a strange new malady that caused them to sleepwalk across the country to a destination only they knew. They were followed on their quest by the shepherds: friends and family who gave up everything to protect them.
Their secret destination: Ouray, a small town in Colorado that would become one of the last outposts of civilization. Because the sleepwalking epidemic was only the first in a chain of events that led to the end of the world–and the birth of a new one.
The survivors, sleepwalkers and shepherds alike, have a dream of rebuilding human society. Among them are Benji, the scientist struggling through grief to lead the town; Marcy, the former police officer who wants only to look after the people she loves; and Shana, the teenage girl who became the first shepherd–and an unlikely hero whose courage will be needed again.
Because the people of Ouray are not the only survivors, and the world they are building is fragile. The forces of cruelty and brutality are amassing under the leadership of self-proclaimed president Ed Creel. And in the very heart of Ouray, the most powerful survivor of all is plotting its own vision for the new world: Black Swan, the A.I. who imagined the apocalypse.
A Light in the Flame (Flesh and Fire #2), by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The only one who can save Sera now is the one she spent her life planning to kill.
The truth about Sera’s plan is out, shattering the fragile trust forged between her and Nyktos. Surrounded by those distrustful of her, all Sera has is her duty. She will do anything to end Kolis, the false King of Gods, and his tyrannical rule of Iliseeum, thus stopping the threat he poses to the mortal realm.
Nyktos has a plan, though, and as they work together, the last thing they need is the undeniable, scorching passion that continues to ignite between them. Sera cannot afford to fall for the tortured Primal, not when a life no longer bound to a destiny she never wanted is more attainable than ever. But memories of their shared pleasure and unrivaled desire are a siren’s call impossible to resist.
And as Sera begins to realize that she wants to be more than a Consort in name only, the danger surrounding them intensifies. The attacks on the Shadowlands are increasing, and when Kolis summons them to Court, a whole new risk becomes apparent. The Primal power of Life is growing inside her, pushing her closer to the end of her Culling. And without Nyktos’s love—an emotion he’s incapable of feeling—she won’t survive her Ascension. That is if she even makes it to her Ascension and Kolis doesn’t get to her first. Because time is running out. For both her and the realms.
Hell Bent (Alex Stern #2), by Leigh Bardugo
Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory―even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale.
Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.
Thick with history and packed with Bardugo’s signature twists, Hell Bent brings to life an intricate world full of magic, violence, and all too real monsters.