The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton arrive from Boston in the North Carolina mountains to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains—but she soon shows herself the equal of any worker, overseeing crews, hunting rattlesnakes, even saving her husband’s life in the wilderness.
Together, this Lord and Lady Macbeth of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she vengefully sets out to kill the son George had without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pemberton’s intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.
Jodi Picoult - Nineteen Minutes
In this emotionally charged novel, Jodi Picoult delves beneath the surface of a small town to explore what it means to be different in our society. In Sterling, New Hampshire, 17-year-old high school student Peter Houghton has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of classmates. His best friend, Josie Cormier, succumbed to peer pressure and now hangs out with the popular crowd that often instigates the harassment. One final incident of bullying sends Peter over the edge and leads him to commit an act of violence that forever changes the lives of Sterling’s residents. Even those who were not inside the school that morning find their lives in an upheaval, including Alex Cormier. The superior court judge assigned to the Houghton case, Alex—whose daughter, Josie, witnessed the events that unfolded—must decide whether or not to step down. She’s torn between presiding over the biggest case of her career and knowing that doing so will cause an even wider chasm in her relationship with her emotionally fragile daughter. Josie, meanwhile, claims she can’t remember what happened in the last fatal minutes of Peter’s rampage. Or can she? And Peter’s parents, Lacy and Lewis Houghton, ceaselessly examine the past to see what they might have said or done to compel their son to such extremes. Nineteen Minutes also features the return of two of Jodi Picoult’s characters—defense attorney Jordan McAfee from The Pact and Salem Falls, and Patrick DuCharme, the intrepid detective introduced in Perfect Match. Rich with psychological and social insight, Nineteen Minutes is a riveting, poignant, and thought-provoking novel that has at its center a haunting question. Do we ever really know someone?
Jodi Picoult - The Pact
Friendship, loyalty, lifelong love -- and teenage suicide. A riveting, timely, and terrifying novel from an acclaimed writer who skillfully intertwines the intimate perceptions of Anne Tyler with the dramatic tension of John Grisham The Golds and the Hartes, neighbors for eighteen years, have always been inseparable. So have their children-and it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. But the bonds of family, friendship, and passion-which had seemed so indestructible -- suddenly threaten to unravel in the wake of unexpected tragedy. When midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the truth. Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris pilfered from his father's cabinet-a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris describes. This extraordinary, heart-rending novel asks questions that every parent faces: How much do we know about our children? Our friends? What if . . .? As its chapters unfold, alternating between an idyllic past and an unthinkable present, The Pact paints an indelible portrait of families in anguish . . . and creates an astonishingly suspenseful courtroom drama, as Chris finds himself on trial for murder. It's rare to find a writer who combines Alice Hoffman's gift for evoking everyday life in pellucid prose with a remarkable ability to create a legal page-turner that will keep you up all night reading, but this is such a book. The Pact rings true: wonderfully observed, truly moving, frightening, and utterly impossible to put down.
Jodi Picoult - Mercy
What would you do for someone you love? Would you lie? Would you leave? Would you kill? These are just some of the questions confronting the characters in Mercy, which follows the path of two cousins driven to extremes by the power of love. Cameron MacDonald has spent his life guided by duty. As the police chief of a small Massachusetts town that has been home to generations of his Scottish clan, he is bound to the town's residents by blood and honor. Yet when his cousin Jamie arrives at the police station with the body of his wife and the bald confession that he's killed her, Cam immediately places him under arrest. The situation isn't as clear to Cam's wife, Allie. While she is devoted to her husband, she finds herself siding against Cam, seduced by the picture James paints of a man so in love with a woman that he'd grant all her wishes… even the one that meant taking her life. Into this charged atmosphere drifts Mia, a new assistant at Allie's floral shop, for whom Cam feels an instant and inexplicable attraction. While he aids the prosecution in preparing the case against Jamie, who killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy, Cam finds himself betraying his own wife. Woven tight with passion and a fast-paced plot, Mercy explores some of today's most highly charged emotional and ethical issues as it draws toward its stunning conclusion. When you love someone, where do you cross the line of moral obligation? And how can you commonly define love and devotion to begin with? Long after you have turned the last page, you'll still be thinking about this rich novel, as well as questioning your own beliefs about love and loyalty.
Elizabeth Gilbert - Committed
At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who'd been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. (Both were survivors of previous horrific divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the United States government, which - after unexpectedly detaining Felipe at an American border crossing - gave the couple a choice: they could either get married, or Felipe would never be allowed to enter the country again. Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Gilbert tackled her fears of marriage by delving into this topic completely, trying with all her might to discover through historical research, interviews, and much personal reflection what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is. Told with Gilbert's trademark wit, intelligence and compassion, Committed attempts to 'turn on all the lights' when it comes to matrimony, frankly examining questions of compatibility, infatuation, fidelity, family tradition, social expectations, divorce risks and humbling responsibilities. Gilbert's memoir is ultimately a clear-eyed celebration of love with all the complexity and consequence that real love, in the real world, actually entails.
Jodi Picoult - House Rules
The astonishing new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult about a family torn apart by an accusation of murder. They tell me I'm lucky to have a son who's so verbal, who is blisteringly intelligent, who can take apart the broken microwave and have it working again an hour later. They think there is no greater hell than having a son who is locked in his own world, unaware that there's a wider one to explore. But try having a son who is locked in his own world, and still wants to make a connection. A son who tries to be like everyone else, but truly doesn't know how. Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject -- in his case, forensic analysis. He's always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do...and he's usually right. But then his town is rocked by a terrible murder and, for a change, the police come to Jacob with questions. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger's -- not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, flat affect -- can look a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel. Suddenly, Jacob and his family, who only want to fit in, feel the spotlight shining directly on them. For his mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication of why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder? Emotionally powerful from beginning to end, House Rules looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way -- and fails those who don't.
Stephen King - The Dark Half
"Thad Beaumont is an author and recovering alcoholic who lives in the tiny Maine town of Ludlow (the setting of Pet Sematary and about an hour away from the fictional town of Castle Rock, often used in King's novels). His own books are not very successful, but under the pen name George Stark, Thad writes gritty crime novels about a violent killer named Alexis Machine, which are very popular and successful. When it's learned that Thad Beaumont, who writes cerebral literary fiction, is really Stark, he and his wife Elizabeth decide to stage a daylight funeral for the fictional Stark. His epitaph at the local cemetery says it all: NOT A VERY NICE GUY. However, that is not the end of Stark and over the weeks to come he resurrects himself from his mock-grave and kills, gruesomely, everyone he perceives responsible for his "death". Thad, meanwhile, is plagued by surreal nightmares, and is soon visited by Sheriff Alan Pangborn (a main character in the novel Needful Things), asking questions Thad can't, or doesn't want to, answer. Thad's finger and voice prints are identical to Stark's, and Stark has left plenty of evidence at the scenes of his crimes..."
Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Code
Harvard professor Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call while on business in Paris: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Alongside the body, police have found a series of baffling codes. As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, begin to sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to find a trail that leads to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci - and suggests the answer to a mystery that stretches deep into the vault of history. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine code and quickly assemble the pieces of the puzzle, a stunning historical truth will be lost forever...
Jonathan Safran Foer - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer tells the story of a precocious 9-year old boy, Oskar Schell. Oskar is very intelligent and independent, writes letters to Stephen Hawking, designs jewelry, and wanders about New York City wearing only white while playing the tambourine. On 9/11, he discovers the family's answering machine contains 5 messages from his father trapped in the north tower before he dies, and he hides the messages from his mother. Oskar struggles to deal with this inconsolable loss, distancing himself from his mom who eventually finds another man, and dreaming of fanciful inventions that can protect people from harm. When he finds a key in his father's closet with the word "Black" on the envelope holding it. Oskar seaches the city for every family named Black in hopes they can tell him the secret of the key, in hopes of understanding his father better. Oskar's grandmother lives across the street from him, and she struggles with the loss of her son while remembering her own survival during the bombing of Dresden and the damage it did to her family. Jonathan Safran Foer explores the psychological fallout from 9/11 through an unlikely boy whose pain and ideas ring all too true. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has received high praise with the Rocky Mountain News saying, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a complex, hilarious, tear-jerking and terribly intimate story."
Jodi Picoult - Plain Truth
The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn's mother, took the child's life. When Ellie Hathaway, a disillusioned big city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide and, for the first time in her high profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep into the world of those who live 'plain', Ellie must find a way to reach Katie on her terms. As she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks deep within to confront her own fears and desires when a man from her past comes back into her life.
Suzanne Collins - Mockingjay
The greatly anticipated final book in the New York Times bestselling Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Format: 9 CDs, Unabridged Narrator: Carolyn McCormick The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss Everdeen. The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins will have hearts racing, pages turning, and everyone talking about one of the biggest and most talked-about books and authors in recent publishing history!!!!
Jodi Picoult - Vanishing Acts
New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her ability to tap into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she explores what happens when a young woman's past -- a past she didn't even know she had -- catches up to her just in time to threaten her future. Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiancé, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes the world as she knows it. In shock and confusion, Delia must sift through the truth -- even when it jeopardizes her life and the lives of those she loves. What happens when you learn you are not who you thought you were? When the people you've loved and trusted suddenly change before your eyes? When getting your deepest wish means giving up what you've always taken for granted? Vanishing Acts explores how life -- as we know it -- might not turn out the way we imagined; how doing the right thing could mean doing the wrong thing; how the memory we thought had vanished could return as a threat. Once again, Jodi Picoult handles a difficult and timely topic with understanding, insight, and compassion.
Jodi Picoult - Perfect Match
What happens when you do all the right things for all the wrong reasons? As an assistant district attorney in York County, Maine, Nina Frost prosecutes the sort of crimes that tear families apart. She helps clients navigate their way through a nightmare – even though the legal system is not always the faultless compass they want and need it to be. She learns that the easiest way to cross this devastating minefield time and time again is to offer compassion, battle fiercely for justice, and keep her emotional distance. But when Nina and her husband Caleb discover that their five-year-old son Nathaniel has been sexually abused, that distance is impossible to maintain. The world Nina inhabits now seems different from the one she lived in yesterday; the lines between family and professional life are erased; and answers to questions she thought she knew are no longer easy to find. Overcome by anger and desperate for vengeance, Nina ignites a battle that may cause her to lose the very thing she's fighting for.
George R. R. Martin - A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
Reissued for September 2011 in B format. Split into two books for the paperback, the third volume in George R.R. Martin's superb and highly acclaimed epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire continues the richest, most exotic and mesmerising saga since The Lord of the Rings. The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall. Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown in the Kingdom of the North, but his defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark's enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne. And Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.
Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol
The most anticipated publication of the decade, The Lost Symbol is the stunning new thriller featuring Robert Langdon. Six years in the writing, it is Dan Brown's extraordinary sequel to his internationally bestselling Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Nothing is ever what it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. Set over a breathtaking 12 hour time span, the book's narrative takes the reader on an exhilarating journey through a masterful and unexpected landscape as Professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon, is once again called into action.
Jodi Picoult - Salem Falls
When Jack St. Bride arrives in the small town of Salem Falls, all he wants is to escape his past. He's spent the last eight months in jail, after being falsely accused of having an affair with an underage student at the school where he taught. In Salem Falls, he gets a job as a dishwasher at a local diner and tentatively begins a romance with the diner's owner, Addie, who is still mourning the death of her young daughter, born after Addie was raped in high school by three drunk boys. As she and Jack fall in love, they both see hope for the future. But their newfound love is threatened when the residents of Salem Falls learn of Jack's conviction and begin harassing him. When, predictably, a teenage girl accuses Jack of raping her, he finds himself back in jail, fighting a serious charge and the town's prejudice. Addie wrestles with her doubts and memories of her own rape, but she believes in Jack and goes on a quest of her own to find out the truth about Jack's initial conviction, even as the Salem Falls trial opens.
Daniel Keyes - The Touch
Karen and Barney Stark were an ordinary young couple. More than anything they wanted a baby of their own. Finally, after months of waiting, Karen discovers she's pregnant. Suddenly a radiation accident turns their happiness into an endless nightmare.
Karin Slaughter - Fractured
Ansley Park is one of Atlanta’s most upscale neighborhoods—but in one gleaming mansion, in a teenager’s lavish bedroom, a girl has been savagely murdered. And in the hallway, her mother stands amid shattered glass, having killed her daughter’s attacker with her bare hands. Detective Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is one of the first on the scene. Trent soon sees something that the Atlanta cops are missing, something in the trail of blood, in a matrix of forensic evidence, and in the eyes of the stunned mother. When another teenage girl goes missing, Trent knows that this case, which started in the best of homes, is about to cut quick and deep through the ruins of perfect lives broken wide-open: where human demons emerge with a vengeance.
Jodi Picoult - Sing You Home
Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and after multiple miscarriages and infertility issues, it looks like her dream is about to come true – she is seven months pregnant. But a terrible turn of events leads to a nightmare – one that takes away the baby she has already fallen for; and breaks apart her marriage to Max. In the aftermath, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist – using music clinically to soothe burn victims in a hospital; to help Alzheimer’s patients connect with the present; to provide solace for hospice patients. When Vanessa – a guidance counselor -- asks her to work with a suicidal teen, their relationship moves from business to friendship and then, to Zoe’s surprise, blossoms into love. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of having a family, again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that were never used by herself and Max. Meanwhile, Max has found peace at the bottom of a bottle – until he is redeemed by an evangelical church, whose charismatic pastor – Clive Lincoln – has vowed to fight the “homosexual agenda” that has threatened traditional family values in America. But this mission becomes personal for Max, when Zoe and her same-sex partner say they want permission to raise his unborn child. SING YOU HOME explores what it means to be gay in today’s world, and how reproductive science has outstripped the legal system. Are embryos people or property? What challenges do same-sex couples face when it comes to marriage and adoption? What happens when religion and sexual orientation – two issues that are supposed to be justice-blind – enter the courtroom? And most importantly, what constitutes a “traditional family” in today’s day and age? Also – in a very unique move – readers will get to literally hear Zoe Baxter’s voice. I am collaborating with Ellen Wilber, a dear friend who is also a very talented musician, to create a CD of original songs, which will correspond to each of the chapters. This CD will be packaged with each hardcover book. So – literally – stay tuned!
Anne Rice - The Queen of the Damned
After six thousand years of horrifying stillness, Akasha, mother of all vampires and Queen of the Damned, has risen from her sleep to let loose the powers of the night But her monstrous plan for ruling the worlds of the living and the undead must be stopped before she destroys mankind. And it falls to the evil vampire Lestat to fight her all-encompassing evil - for it is he who challenged her power by waking her from sleep. 'Imaginative ... intelligently written ... This is popular fiction of the highest order' - USA Today
Jeff Lindsay - Dexter in the Dark
Dexter Morgan is busy planning his wedding to Rita to complete his nice-guy disguise. But when a student is found burnt, molested and headless - seemingly sacrificed to an ancient god - and Dex is brought in as forensic analyst to help investigate, he realises he could be dealing with someone a whole lot more sinister than he is. Soon it seems the dark passenger in Dexter's head has gone into hiding. And when something creeps out your friendly neighbourhood serial killer, you know it's serious... As Halpern and Dexter are stalked by death, it looks like it's getting personal - especially as Dex now has a family to protect. Gradually, Dexter realises his stepchildren might share his extracurricular interest in death. Could he help them target their bloodlust, just as he steers his own? But to do that, Dex must cope with a certain mutilated sergeant from his past, and more importantly... stay alive ...