Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, December 26, 2016

Ring in a New Year of reading with these January/February books of 2017

I do hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas(and still enjoying the Hanukkah season as well) and no doubt, plenty of you had some bookish delights among your holiday presents.

However, some of those gifts were in the form of gift cards and with plenty of new books coming out in the new year,the time to place those pre-orders is now.

This list of books due to be released in January and February are all works of fiction(don't worry, non-fiction will be highlighted in future preview posts) but the fact is that at least one of them should be a future gift you'll want to give to yourself:


 It's been awhile since Min Jin Lee's last novel, Free Food for Millionaires, came forth but her newest book promises to be well worth the wait.

 Pachinko chronicles the fortunes of a family starting from Korea in 1910, where Sunja, the granddaughter of a humble fisherman, marries a minister at her parents' boarding house in order to preserve her honor and start a new life in Japan.

Sunja's children wind up building mini-dynasties, with one son running a chain of pachinko parlors and other a brilliant scholar. Nevertheless, secrets from the past are still out there and a man who has persisted in being a part of the family's life in one way or another could reveal all. The story spans several generations and with the powerful beauty of the author's writing, could become an instant classic to last many generations more(February).

Lydia Peelle tells the tale of two men who are almost like family in The Midnight Cool, as grifter Billy Monday and his young apprentice Charles McLaughlin work their verbal magic by selling mules to folks eager to get into the growing war in Europe.

However, the fellas met their match in Tennessee of 1916 , where they purchase a possible prize winning horse. Unfortunately, that mare has a bad habit of leading her riders to their deaths. To make matters worse, Charles falls in love with Catherine, the daughter of the former owner, and their growing bond threatens the one between Billy and Charles.

When a bad shipment of mules puts Billy in a bad spot, it's up to Charles to see if he can fix not only that situation but make a move that will determine all of their futures. This is Peelle's first novel(her previous book was a collection of short stories) and it sounds like a remarkable story that encompasses love, honor and duty in the best sense of those words(January):


 In Beatriz Williams' new novel, The Wicked City, our leading lady is Ella Hawthorne, who moves into an old Greenwich Village apartment upon leaving her faithless husband.

 While there, she learns the history of the place that hide a speakeasy  in the basement during the 1920s ,where a rather notorious flapper named Geneva"Gin" Kelly had quite the romantic adventures that lead her into taking down a big league bootlegger.

Inspired by the antics of Gin Kelly, Ella decides to find her own big city thrills with the help of a handsome new neighbor. Beatriz Williams does have a flair for fabulous ladies of the past and present, with this book being the launching pad for a new series of old school stylish women who can give as good as they can get when it comes to men and the trouble they bring(January):

The title character of Miranda Emmerson's debut novel, Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars, is the London theater dresser for Iolanthe Green, an American actress who vanishes one night after her regular performance in November of 1965.

As the case grows cold, only Anna Treadway remains bound and determined to find out what happened to Iolanthe. She is joined on her quest by outsiders like herself, including a coffee house owner and his rebellious daughter as well as an Irish cop and an accountant with a taste for literature.

Their search for the truth leads this unlikely pack of detectives into some rather strange places and answers to more than one question could impact them more personally than expected. A mix of quirk and mystery, this story sounds like the perfectly punchy cup of tea to me(February):

Sara Flannery Murphy showcases a literally haunting world in her debut novel The Possessions, where with the aid of a certain drug, people can channel the dead for those able to pay for the privilege.

Eurydice has been a "body" for the Elysian Society for five years and until now has never gotten involved with her clients beyond work. Upon channeling Sylvia, the recently deceased wife of Patrick Braddock, a lawyer who is somewhat suspected in her death by drowning, she finds herself becoming more connected to both of them.

As Eurydice struggles with being attracted to Patrick and memory flashes from Sylvia, she is coming close to discovering some truths that could turn deadly for all involved. Could be quite the intensely thoughtful thrill ride that would make for a fun read indeed(February):

A PORTRAIT OF FRIENDSHIP: Author Kayla Rae Whitaker takes on the tough topic of women in the cartoon/comic book world in her novel The Animators, where college class gal pals Mel and Sharon are hoping to make their mark on.

As the two of them manage to do well as an animation team, with a biographical film about Mel's life gaining a bit of prestige, Sharon is struck by an unexpected illness that puts her past into focus. Using this experience to create a second movie, the ties between the two friends start to become a bit frayed.

Female friendship stories tend to go down a certain route but Whitaker appears to be going for more of an in-depth look into what motivates such connections, along with the question of how does personal experience and pain truly inspire art. A smart yet emotional exploration into what it really means to be a woman artist(January):

I know it's a bit early but I do wish a Happy New Year to us all, even as that new start has many troubling aspects up ahead there. One steady constant that may help us weather those future storms is the promise of new and wonderful books to read, a promise that will certainly last longer than any of those New Year's resolutions that are made once the midnight party is over:

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