This week’s list is going to be a combination of our #1 Bestseller in Very Niche Markets that we did last week and Books That Came Out This Week That We Know At Least Three of You Will Make the Noise About But We’re Not Going to Publicly Out You In That Regard Here. Which is to say, as entirely subjective and deep in the weeds in some regards, as always.
To begin, we have The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel. Because some clever soul somewhere said, “Hey, you know what I’m always in the mood for when I play hours and hours of online MMORPGs? Snacks. Especially snacks that allow me to not break character. Hey, how about we rustle up some Saltrice Porridge before we go tackle the Ruins of HazzamazzaZumatin?”
You can even put nuts and berries on it for extra protein and fresh flavor.
And speaking of recipes, do we need a gluten-free Instant Pot cookbook? Well, that’s a rhetorical question, actually, because look! there is one! Frankly, we’re still trying to figure out how you make cheesecake in a device that makes things hot, but we’re clearly not the target audience here. If you are though, Jane Bonacci and Sara de Leeuw have your back with simple and declaratively titled The Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook.
And while we are rummaging about on the cookbook shelf, how about a dairy-free, plant-based, fish-foward cookbook? Well, here is Pescan: A Feel Good Cookbook by Abbie Cornish and Jacqueline King. Tasty, and feels good, according to the cover copy. No, wait. You’ll feel good. Fish are slimy. Well, not after they’re cooked. Then, they’re just—okay, look at the time!
Quick, find us a new James Patterson book. Surely he's put something out this week . . . ?
Oh, perfect. Here we go. In The Cornwalls Are Gone, our protagonist is a career Army Intelligence officer who must do something counter to everything she believes within forty-eight hours or the people she cares about most are dead. It’s really all you need to know, right? The pages are going to turn themselves.
However, the pages in Joseph Catimbang’s latest Mythographic Color and Discover book are not going to turn themselves. Nor are they going to color themselves. Yes, that’s right. This book requires a lot of heavy lifting and shading and what-not from you. Which is fine. Sometimes plot is over—what’s the word we’re looking for? Whatever. Maybe we should go color a squirrel or something.
Also, while you are in the mood, Kerby Rosanes has put together a best-of collection from his Geomorphia, Animorphia, Fantomorphia, PickAnAdjectiveMorphia series of coloring books, which makes this one . . . what? Colormorphia? Lame. It’s more like Brainblowingmorphia.
Either way, get your coloring on. It’s still cool and fresh.
Or how about handmade soaps? Those are even cooler and fresher, and they leave you cool and fresh. Amanda Gail Aaron has been inspiring people and making soaps for years, and The Complete Guide to Natural Soap Making is your guide to cold-processing, hot-processing, melt-and-pouring, hand-milling, and a dozen other ways for making stripy, swirly, splashy, twirly soaps.
And speaking of catchy rhyme schemes that get stuck in your head, Craig Smith is back with a new earworm—we mean, delightful children’s book—that is sure to make the grandkids chortle for hours. Co-written with Maureen Thomson, Willbee the Bumblebee is the tragic tale of a small bee who has lost his bum cover. Naturally, a bee can’t go buzzing about with a naked rear, and so Willbee gets some much-needed help from a butterfly and a spider to cover his delicate derrière.
It’s a much more nuanced plot than The Cornwalls Are Gone, assuredly.
And speaking of complicated plots, the eighth book (8!) in James S. A. Corey’s magnificent space opera series The Expanse is out this week. Tiamat’s Wrath ups the threat level to sixty million and puts the whole universe in danger, as the crew of the Rocinante fight an unwinnable war against a supreme authoritarian empire. Will James Holden escape the enemy’s clutches? Will Teresa Duarte crack under the strain of completing her father’s greatest project? Will all thirteen thousand space gates turn out to be holes through which terrible aliens can come pouring in? Oh, you want to know. You know you want to know.
And speaking of things you know you want to know, yes, A. S. King has a new book out this week. Dig is just as surreal as I Crawl Through It, but even more thought-provoking and heartbreaking. King does things with her books that are so strange and experimental that they shouldn’t work, but they do, because she has a talent for slipping her words right into the central core of your brain and heart where they melt and transform into butterflies and steak knives and God knows what else.
This one, by the way, is about Easter dinner and white power, and the resiliency of those who survive both.
And speaking of tangled narratives, Christopher Reich is back this week with Crown Jewel, the latest in his series about international problem-solver Simon Riske. In Crown Jewel, Riske is employed by a Monte Carlo casino owner to discover why he’s losing so much money at his establishment. Riske quickly discovers there are plots within plots within plots, and it will take all of his ingenuity, charm, and top-notch driving skills to ferret out a path through this maze of terror and death.
What? It’s almost summer. Beach reads are starting to show up.
And speaking of beach reads, we’re going to fade out this week with two choices in the Get Sand in Your Skivvies category. First is Mariah Stewart’s The Goodby Café, which takes us to the charming town of Hidden Falls, Pennsylvania where everything is slathered with that down-home feeling and there is always a whiff of good mystery in the air. Three sisters return to Hidden Falls after the death of their dear old dad, where they discover that his will insists they all live together in the family house while restoring the town’s derelict theater. Naturally, hijinks and romance ensue.
And secondly, Mary Alice Monroe takes us to South Carolina for Beach House Reunion, which offers a slightly different take on the You Can Go Home Again trope, but still sticks close to the trinity of Heartbreak, Heartthrobs, and Heartfelt that is required in all good summer beach reading.