It is the time for reading, resolutions, and resolutions to do more reading. We'd like to lead by example and resolve to swear less this year, but we suspect we're not fooling anyone. Also, it would preclude us from our perennial mention of Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, which is as about a good a place as any to start the new decade.
Pedants will argue that the decade doesn't actually start until next year, but we'll just be over here, paging through Manson's book, while you blather on about Gregorian versus Julian calendar systems as well as the relatively recent acknowledgement of zero as a construct in Western society. We do care, really. We're just more interested in reminding ourselves that we are awesome and that awesomeness is more quickly achieved by not, you know, giving an f-bomb.
Anyway, so yes, it's 2020. Hello, and welcome to a new year of bookstore newsletter goodness. This newsletter is probably arriving in your inbox slightly later than its normal delivery time, which we will claim is due to mental exhaustion, dehydration, and otherwise dissolute behavior on our parts over the last few days, but honestly, it's because we were reading a book we shouldn't talk about for eight months or so. What? It was good and someone wants a blurb, and we want to start the year off by being extra helpful. [Secret wink to that person who sent us that book: Yeah, okay, so we got all choked up at the end. Whatever. We'll send you a note soonish.]
Besides, you are probably even more exhausted, dehydrated, and dissolute than we are because—look at you! dodging work already by reading this newsletter. Well done. Well done, indeed.
Let's make it worth your while, shall we? What sort of awesome books do we have to start your year?
Well, Gone, Kitty, Gone, Eileen Watkins's fourth book featuring cat groomer Cassie McGlone, is out. In this one, Cassie goes on the road, ending up at the North Jersey Cat Expo where hip hypsters, Instagram-famous Scottish folds (no, you Google it), and lifetime ailurophobes are all sucked into kidnapping and murder. It's cat-tastic.
Meanwhile, Brett Cogburn is back with Gunpowder Express, the third book in the Widowmaker Jones Western series. Now, Brett's bio says that he's the great-grandson of the man who inspired Charles Portis's infamous Rooster Cogburn (from True Grit), and we have just one question about that.
Actually, it's not that important. We'll just leave that one alone for now because the summary of Gunpowder Express makes much more sense. It's got Jenny Silks, a "stubborn firebrand" who has her own reasons for wanting to get a stagecoach full of gold to the railway depot in Maricopa. Waiting for her on the Gunpowder Express, which is the name for the body-strewn trail from Vulture City (seriously) to Maricopa, is Irish Jack O'Harrigan, who is every villain stereotype rolled into one. Fortunately, the mine owner hires Newt "Widowmaker" Jones to ride shotgun.
Oh, and William W. Johnstone (still really dead) has two books out this week. One of them is about one of the Jensen boys and the other one is about the Last Mountain Man, who is not only another Jensen boys, but is also some sort of preacher fella, but the only religion he knows is Hot Lead.
Honestly, this book came out on Tuesday, December 31st, and it was the nineteenth book with Johnstone's name on it in 2019. We might have lost track a bit . . .
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Penny has a new series out. It's called Hems & Homicide, and it is the first of the Apron Shop mysteries wherein an expert seamstress turned amateur sleuth is—wait for it—getting "measured for murder."
Naturally, there's a cat in the story too. Gotta hit all the demographic markers.
Meanwhile, veteran TV writer and author Lee Goldberg starts a new series of his own with Lost Hills, a taut and well-executed procedural about a rookie cop who lands a gruesome investigation as her first case. Eve Ronin has a lot to prove, and she's not about to let all the jerks in the LA County Sheriff's office ruin her chances. Sure, all the blood in the house looks like the scene of some horrific murder, but Eve's not convinced. She's got to rely on her instincts and tenacity when the media, her bosses, and a bereaved family are all arguing otherwise.
The Alliteration Award this week goes to Collette Cameron's Wooed by a Wicked Duke, which is number five in the Seductive Scoundrels series. Hopefully the next book is Pursued by a Passionate Prince, or something of that ilk.
Oh, what is it like to be wooed by a wicked duke? Well, there's a lady who is running from some sort of family shame and she bumps into some gorgeous creature who is not about to stop playing the field. But, what's this? He gets these weird tingly feelings when this lady is around, and he doesn't know what to do about them, and so he casts aside his roguish rakeful ways and sets everything right.
And no, his name is not "Newt Jones," but it would be awesome if it were. Though "Widowmaker" Jones doesn't work quite the same way in a Regency Romance as it does in a Western. Can you imagine if Crispin, the wicked Duke of Bainbridge, swapped places with Newt "Widowmaker" Jones? Now there's a crossover event . . .
Oh, and we should mention at least one cookbook since it is that time of year when everyone is casting about for the new fad that will slim you right up. Here you go!
Zoinks! More than 25 kid-friendly recipes! We know. We know. Those unwanted pounds would have totally melted away if it hadn't been for those pesky kids!
And that's how we're starting the new year, dear readers. Tongues-in-cheek, wits a-wag, and with all the other bells and whistles and whoop-zingers you expect. Hopefully James Patterson will have a book out next week, and we can get back to the normal tone of earnest book recommending that usually goes on around here.
Until then, tackle those To Be Read piles! Make some other piles! Talk about books with your friends! Make some friends and talk about books! Let's get 2020 rolling.