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Sweatpants & Books | New Releases, January 2019

Ten new books coming to bookstores and libraries near you this January.

Fast Friends - Jill MansellFast Friends by Jill Mansell

January 1

Isn’t life more fun in the fast lane?
When bored housewife and mother Camilla Stewart impulsively invites her old schoolfriends for dinner, she hardly imagines that the evening will shatter her comfortable existence. But Roz Vallender and Loulou Marks are no ordinary guests. Roz is a stunning and self-assured TV presenter, while the reckless Loulou owns Vampires, the trendiest wine bar in town.

When they reveal that Camilla’s husband Jack has been playing around, Camilla determines to make some changes. With a little help from her friends, she soon finds out that life in the fast lane is a lot more fun–and the future still holds plenty of surprises.

Kintsugi - Sienna Saint-CyrKintsugi: Powerful Stories of Healing Trauma edited by Sienna Saint-Cyr

January 1

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of using gold (and other precious metals) to repair broken pottery. The ritual is complex, intentional, and contemplative. Upon completion, the once-broken vessels are made whole. They are stronger and possess a different type of beauty than before.

Kintsugi is the perfect metaphor for healing trauma.

Healing is multifarious. Not only does it require effort on the part of the survivor, but also those around them. The most effective healing takes place when there is a network of support. One where others can listen, witness pain, and hold space for the survivor.

This collection is designed to highlight the varying approaches to healing and to honor our individual needs along the way. Some authors are taking their first steps in these pages, while others share their successes in reclaiming their bodies, confidence, sexuality, and joy. Each story is unique – sometimes straightforward, but often counterintuitive (because if healing were simple or straightforward it would surely be easier).

Kintsugi is not for the faint of heart.

Two Can Keep a Secret - Karen M. McManusTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

January 8

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

My Life Among The Underdogs - Tia TorresMy Life Among the Underdogs: A Memoir by Tia Torres

January 15

Tia Torres, beloved underdog advocate and star of Animal Planet’s hit show Pit Bulls & Parolees, chronicles her roller-coaster life in this heartwarming memoir featuring some of her best-loved dogs. With inimitable honesty and characteristic brashness, Tia captures the spirit and heart of these intelligent and loving canines, while carrying us behind the scenes of her TV show, into the heart of post-Katrina New Orleans, onto the soundstages of Hollywood films, and even to the jungles of Sri Lanka.

Tia has devoted her life to shattering the stereotype that pit bulls are dangerous, vicious predators. As the top dog at the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans, the largest pit bull rescue in the United States, she and her team have rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed hundreds of animals that might otherwise have been destroyed. As she puts it, “Most of the stories in this book are about animals (and a few humans) that needed someone to believe in them and a purpose in order to show their true nobility.”

Each dog Tia writes about here has overcome abuse, trauma, neglect, or just bad luck to become a stalwart, loving companion to Tia and her family. You’ll meet Duke, whose intelligence and matinee-idol looks made him a star in movies and music videos; Junkyard Joe, whose single-minded passion for tennis balls was channeled into expertise as a drug-sniffing dog; Bluie, the unswerving protector of Tia’s daughter Tania; and a host of other unforgettable canines.

My Life Among the Underdogs is above all a love story–one that is sure to grip the heart of anyone who has ever owned–or been owned by–a dog.

The Gilded Wolves - Roshani ChokshiThe Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

January 15

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

Hands Up! - Breanna J. McDaniel (Author), Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel (Author), Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)

January 22

This triumphant picture book recasts a charged phrase as part of a black girl’s everyday life–hands up for a hug, hands up in class, hands up for a high five–before culminating in a moment of resistance at a protest march.

A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane’s wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive - Stephanie Land Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

January 22

At 28, Stephanie Land’s plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn’t feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.

Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients’ lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.

Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the “servant” worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie’s story, but it’s not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

The Falconer - Dana CzapnikThe Falconer: A Novel by Dana Czapnik

January 29

New York, 1993. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler, a street-smart, trash-talking baller, is often the only girl on the public courts. At turns quixotic and cynical, insecure and self-possessed, Lucy is in unrequited love with her best friend and pick-up teammate Percy, scion to a prominent New York family who insists he wishes to resist upper crust fate.

As she navigates this complex relationship with all its youthful heartache, Lucy is seduced by a different kind of life—one less consumed by conventional success and the approval of men. A pair of provocative female artists living in what remains of New York’s bohemia invite her into their world, but soon even their paradise begins to show cracks.

Told in vibrant, quicksilver prose, The Falconer is a “wholly original coming-of-age story” (Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists), providing a snapshot of the city and America through the eyes of the children of the baby boomers grappling with privilege and the fading of radical hopes. New York Times bestselling author Claire Messud calls The Falconer an “exhilarating debut,” adding that “Dana Czapnik’s frank heroine has a voice, and a perspective, you won’t soon forget.”

Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine - Emily BernardBlack Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine by Emily Bernard

January 29

“I am black–and brown, too,” writes Emily Bernard. “Brown is the body I was born into. Black is the body of the stories I tell.”

And the storytelling, and the mystery of Bernard’s storytelling, of getting to the truth, begins with a stabbing in a New England college town. Bernard writes how, when she was a graduate student at Yale, she walked into a coffee shop and, along with six other people, was randomly attacked by a stranger with a knife (“I remember making the decision not to let the oddness of this stranger bother me”). “I was not stabbed because I was black,” she writes (the attacker was white), “but I have always viewed the violence I survived as a metaphor for the violent encounter that has generally characterized American race relations. There was no connection between us, yet we were suddenly and irreparably bound by a knife, an attachment that cost us both: him, his freedom; me, my wholeness.”

Bernard explores how that bizarre act of violence set her free and unleashed the storyteller in her (“The equation of writing and regeneration is fundamental to black American experience”).

She writes in Black Is the Body how each of the essays goes beyond a narrative of black innocence and white guilt, how each is anchored in a mystery, and how each sets out to discover a new way of telling the truth as the author has lived it. “Blackness is an art, not a science. It is a paradox: intangible and visceral; a situation and a story. It is the thread that connects these essays, but its significance as an experience emerges randomly, unpredictably . . . Race is the story of my life, and therefore black is the body of this book.”

And what most interests Bernard is looking at “blackness at its borders, where it meets whiteness in fear and hope, in anguish and love.”

Golden Child - Claire AdamGolden Child: A Novel by Claire Adam

January 29

Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.

When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters—leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.

Like the Trinidadian landscape itself, GOLDEN CHILD is both beautiful and unsettling; a resoundingly human story of aspiration, betrayal, and love.

 

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About Shandle Blaha (251 Articles)
Shandle is the Chief Operations Officer for Sweatpants & Coffee. She's a traveler, bookworm, movie lover and TV junkie. She quotes Friends in her daily life and takes her coffee extra sweet, preferably in the form of a PSL.

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