Pub Day Picks // November 10, 2020

It’s finally starting to cool down in Southern California which makes me want to reach for something fun and light-hearted to read while I’m bundled up in blankets and a pumpkin spiced rooibos tea. It’s also great because today’s another publishing day and the choices this week are phenomenal. I can’t wait to check these out in our local bookstore soon.

The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem

Do you remember the days when the NYT Bestseller List was an abundance of Jonathans? I feel like I never look at those lists anymore and Jonathan Lethem is a name I haven’t heard from in a long time. Remember when he wrote Motherless Brooklyn and everyone called him a celebrity? Jury’s out on that one.

But when an author with a pretty familiar name comes out with a Science Fiction or Fantasy novel (in any iteration of the genre), then I’m intrigued. Do you have the chops to stand up against the big leagues of the genre? Or are you trying to insert yourself to a place where many folks have failed to deliver? It might be easier for Jonathan Lethem especially since his books tend to bend the genres, but we shall see.

The Arrest isn’t post-apocalypse. It isn’t a dystopia. It isn’t a utopia. It’s just what happens when much of what we take for granted—cars, guns, computers, and airplanes, for starters—quits working. . . . 

Before the Arrest, Sandy Duplessis had a reasonably good life as a screenwriter in L.A.  An old college friend and writing partner, the charismatic and malicious Peter Todbaum, had become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. That didn’t hurt. 

Now, post-Arrest, nothing is what it was. Sandy, who calls himself Journeyman, has landed in rural Maine. There he assists the butcher and delivers the food grown by his sister, Maddy, at her organic farm. But then Todbaum shows up in an extraordinary vehicle: a retrofitted tunnel-digger powered by a nuclear reactor. Todbaum has spent the Arrest smashing his way across a fragmented and phantasmagorical United States, trailing enmities all the way. Plopping back into the siblings’ life with his usual odious panache, his motives are entirely unclear.  Can it be that Todbaum wants to produce one more extravaganza? Whatever he’s up to, it may fall to Journeyman to stop him. 

Written with unrepentant joy and shot through with just the right amount of contemporary dread, The Arrest is speculative fiction at its absolute finest.

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

I picked this one up a few weeks ago, but it sounds so good and sweet. It’s the perfect foil for the bigger and chonky fantasy books that are coming out lately. It sounds like such a cute little story with the personality traits of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, but set in modern times with a F/F relationship. It sounds exactly like Bridget Jones especially since that story doesn’t drop too much Pride and Prejudice into it. I’m thinking this is similar to that. I might read this closer to the holidays especially since it takes place during that time period.

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.

But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?

The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White

I’m actually promoting this one on my Instagram page today, so that’s kind of exciting. This series sounds so good especially since they’re retellings of Arthurian stories. I love King Arthur and his stories, but they are definitely a little old school. I’m so happy to hear that someone’s taking the initiative to recreate these stories through Guinevere’s lens. I now have both the books from this trilogy, so I should finally get to reading it. I’ve been wanting to read Kiersten White, too, so this will get two things done at once.

EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE IN CAMELOT: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.

Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.

When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?

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