Staff Reviews of New Releases
Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (publication date: July 27)
Goodreads Description:Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
Katherine's Review:(4 out of 5 stars) The Summer that Melted Everything was a fascinating book to read. It was written in a way that made it hard to put down and though it was dark, it wasn't oppressively so. I grew up in the 1980's so I thought I'd feel right at home (given that this story takes place in 1984), but this story's setting did not feel familiar. I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't set in a much earlier time. I loved Tiffany McDaniel's writing style and I'll definitely keep at eye out for any future books.
The Trees by Ali Shaw (publication date: August 2)
Goodreads Description:There came an elastic aftershock of creaks and groans and then, softly softly, a chinking shower of rubbled cement. Leaves calmed and trunks stood serene. Where, not a minute before, there had been a suburb, there was now only woodland standing amid ruins…
There is no warning. No chance to prepare.
They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ground, transforming streets and towns into shadowy forest. Buildings are destroyed. Broken bodies, still wrapped in tattered bed linen, hang among the twitching leaves.
Katherine's Review:(4 out of 5 stars) I've read quite a few apocalyptic stories, but this one is truly unique. No, the end of the world as we know it is not caused by a comet, a global pandemic, or a nuclear disaster....it's caused by trees! What an amazing idea. Overall I enjoyed reading this book but the descriptions of violence were a bit too much at times and the ending didn't quite work for me.
The Hike by Drew Magary (publication date: August 2)
Goodreads Description:When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects.
Katherine's Review:(2 out of 5 stars) This book did not work for me. It's very possible that it would work for other readers, but it was too strange for me to enjoy it. Other reviewers have said that the ending was worth it all, but it just left me frustrated. Perhaps I missed some hidden meaning in the book or symbolism and that's why I am feeling so confused about it.
Altogether Unexpected Appearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez (publication date: August 9)
Goodreads Description:A fiendishly fun and charming novel echoing the quirky works of brilliant director Pedro Almodóvar, The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman follows an uptight Englishman who is sent to Madrid to close a literary magazine and the five fiery, close-knit Spanish women who must devise a plan in order to keep the jobs they love.
Atticus Craftsman never travels without a supply of Earl Grey, an electric kettle, and a teacup—so he makes sure he has packed all three after his father, distinguished publisher of Craftsman & Co., sends him to Madrid to shut down a failing literary magazine, Librarte. But when nobody has heard from him in three months, his father knows something must be very wrong.
Katherine's Review:(3 out of 5 stars) For a light, humorous read this book works well. Overall I enjoyed reading it. I found myself very amused during parts of it but I also think some of the characters were too forced.
I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows (publication date: August 9)
Goodreads Review:Annie Bell can't escape the dust. It's in her hair, covering the windowsills, coating the animals in the barn, in the corners of her children's dry, cracked lips. It's 1934 and the Bell farm in Mulehead, Oklahoma is struggling as the earliest storms of The Dust Bowl descend. All around them the wheat harvests are drying out and people are packing up their belongings as storms lay waste to the Great Plains. As the Bells wait for the rains to come, Annie and each member of her family are pulled in different directions. Annie's fragile young son, Fred, suffers from dust pneumonia; her headstrong daughter, Birdie, flush with first love, is choosing a dangerous path out of Mulehead; and Samuel, her husband, is plagued by disturbing dreams of rain.
Katherine's Review:(4 out of 5 stars) This book surprised me in wonderful way. Although set in the 1930's during the Dust Bowl, the characters are the driving force of the book not the setting. I was very grateful for this as I didn't think I could handle another "Grapes of Wrath" type story right now. Granted, this book is not devoid of emotionally wrenching moments, but the book didn't leave me wrung out and reeling. I loved Rae Meadows' writing and I was quickly sucked into these character's lives.
(4 out of 5 stars) I have to admit that I picked up this ARC, because I really liked the cover and the title. (sometimes it is a very scientific selection process - ha!) But I am so glad I did! I really felt immersed in this family's life in Dust Bowl Oklahoma in the 1930s. The story was well written and managed to be piercing & touching without being too heavy. I also thought the author managed to show you different sides of the characters which makes them more realistic and memorable.