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A Letter to Librarians from Rufi Thorpe, Author of The Knockout Queen

Barbara’s Picks (Brooks, Moore, Mosse, & Straub, Plus Fiction Newcomers Burns and Serritella), with Historicals, Beach Reads, and Love/Family/Friends: Pop Fiction Previews, May 2020, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories: Pioneering Women of the West

Western literature has passed in and out of fashion; at present there’s a movement toward openness and candor regarding the U.S. march to the west. This compilation provides an excellent starting point for book club discussions of Americans in these times.
PREMIUM

The Clergyman’s Wife: A Pride & Prejudice Novel

Recommended for general fiction collections and Austen fans eager to revisit the popular characters and places in Pride and Prejudice.

PREMIUM

The Heap

Adams’s debut is an effective, jolting dystopic novel that should appeal widely. [See Prepub Alert, 10/22/19.]

PREMIUM

Dirty Letters

Readers who can overlook a few stretched plot points in order to enjoy the sizzling chemistry will gravitate to the latest entry from acclaimed writing duo Keeland and Ward (Hate Notes; “Rush” series).
PREMIUM

Smoke Screen

Plot twists and likable characters light up this latest romantic suspense from best-selling author Blackstock (“Run” series). Themes of redemption and grace mark this love story that will be a hit among fans of Christian fiction and clean romantic suspense.
PREMIUM

Protecting Tanner Hollow

Gripping and fast-paced romantic suspense recommended for readers of Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Colleen Coble.

A Conversation with Kiley Reid about Such a Fun Age

Barbara’s Picks (Ackerman, Ford, Lacey, McBride, Marcom, Mason, Millet, Shriver), Plus Writers on the Rise: Literary Fiction Previews, May 2020, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Barbara’s Picks (Gaige, Gye, Levin, Swift, Tyler): Literary Fiction Previews, Last-Minute April Titles | Prepub Alert

PREMIUM

Gun Island

Reality and illusion collide in this mythic, fluidly written work, which will appeal to readers who will appreciate being carried along by Ghosh’s imaginative prose and occasionally disconnected story lines.[See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]
PREMIUM

Black Forest

While the novel is “certainly not for members of the cult of the carefree,” as Assef wryly notes, internationally-savvy seekers will undoubtedly be intrigued.
PREMIUM

When Silence Sings

Fans of historical Southern fiction will be drawn to this title, as will readers of Lisa Wingate and Karen Witemeyer. The author’s followers will find this latest offering comparable to her previous work.
PREMIUM

Grand Union: Stories

The caliber of these pieces varies, but Smith’s keen intellect shines through them all. Both her fans and readers who enjoy smart fiction with an up-to-the-minute sensibility, will find much to like. [See Prepub Alert, 3/25/19.]
PREMIUM

A Dream Come True: The Collected Stories of Juan Carlos Onetti

The haunting yet engaging stories in this comprehensive collection will expose Onetti to a much broader readership than has heretofore existed.
PREMIUM

The Sweetest Fruits

Containing minimal dialog, this work is rich in descriptive detail that some readers will enjoy, though others who prefer more character-driven interaction may be daunted. Nevertheless, those who follow the work through to the end will discover three fascinating women whose stories clarify the life of a man just as remarkable in his time. [See Prepub Alert, 3/11/19.]
PREMIUM

First Cosmic Velocity

An impressively realized work that will be welcomed by those interested in literary fiction, Cold War history, and early space programs.
PREMIUM

Exquisite Mariposa: A Novel

As metafiction, this work will ultimately disappoint those seeking (if not longing for) a discernible, less self-conscious narrative, but it’s a provocative, original, and even chaotic understanding of reality and the rapid social, technological, and economic changes facing everyone, not just millennials.
PREMIUM

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year

The stories in this volume have strong themes of explicitly negotiated kink, as well as more subtle forms of power play among partners; readers who enjoy erotica with these elements will likely find this latest in the long-running series especially delicious reading.
PREMIUM

Galway Girl

For fans of the series and its protagonist, and readers who admire Jack’s devious ways of making things right.
PREMIUM

From Sea to Stormy Sea: 17 Stories Inspired by Great American Paintings

Block has put together an intriguing and diverse collection featuring acclaimed authors and artists. Mystery fans who enjoyed the previous collection will welcome this strong new anthology.

Secret Service

Bradby’s journalistic and screenwriting background is fully evident, as the story is well researched, compellingly complicated, and perfectly paced. Fans of Stella Rimington and Olen Steinhauer will love this offering. [See Prepub Alert, 5/13/19.]

The Glass Thief

Charming and eclectic characters populate this Indiana Jones-esque adventure, which comes highly recommended for fans of locked-room mysteries in the manner of Agatha Christie and Elizabeth Peters.
PREMIUM

The Visitor

This could be a breakout book for Miller (A House Full of Secrets). Although the ending is a bit pat, the story still presents well-drawn characters in a tale of romantic suspense with a feminist twist.

Like Flies from Afar

This amazing mix of crime novel and detective story—think Jim Thompson—is even more of a nightmare—think Kafka—stunning in its power and originality. It should entice foremost crime noir aficionados, with potential to break out to a wider audience.
PREMIUM

Paw of the Jungle

While part of a series, this cozy can be read as a stand-alone and will be appreciated by animal lovers. Recommended for readers of Spencer Quinn’s “Chet and Bernie” books.
PREMIUM

The Lost Are the Last To Die

Sweazy’s latest is a fast-paced story that intensifies as it careens toward tragedy. Fans of frontier mysteries will appreciate the juxtaposition of Billy’s early years with the violence of his final spree, in this atmospheric tale of a man who left a son at home pining for him, while he tried to save the prodigal.
PREMIUM

Brooklyn Legacies

This fifth book in the “Erica Donato” series (after Brooklyn Wars) is fascinating primarily for the history of Brooklyn aspect. Erica is not a particularly endearing character, nor is she an astute detective—she acts before she thinks and fails to see evident facts. While this installment stands on its own, the series will attract Brooklynites and those interested in its history.
PREMIUM

Tell Me No Lies

Wonderful period detail and clever humor combine with the delicious romantic tension between Phil and both Mr. X and Atkins to create a tasty recipe for fun reading. Historical mystery buffs and fans of amateur sleuths will eagerly await the next Lady Dunbridge adventure. [See Prepub Alert, 4/22/19.]
PREMIUM

Murder, She Wrote: A Time for Murder

Although there are so many implausible elements, including the startling climax with a freighter and a lighthouse, fans of the cozy mystery series will be eager to pick up this latest book. [See Prepub Alert, 4/22/19.]
PREMIUM

Winter Grave

A solid purchase for collections in which Nordic noir circulates regularly, though Tursten’s novels aren’t nearly as bleak or as humorless as others in the genre. [See Prepub Alert, 6/3/19.]
PREMIUM

The Angels’ Share: A Wine Country Mystery

This well-plotted addition to these award-winning mysteries (after Harvest of Secrets) will appeal to fans of the series and historical puzzles, as seen in the film National Treasure.
PREMIUM

Blind Search

Returning readers will celebrate this sequel; those new to Mercy and Elvis will be delighted to catch a solid series in its early days. All will look forward to more.

The Ninja Daughter

Readers who enjoy an action-packed adventure that doesn’t neglect character development and speaks truth about the human condition will welcome this quirky, passionate, and endearingly relatable protagonist.
PREMIUM

Lethal Redemption

Fans of military and private security series with brave and vulnerable men and women will enjoy this gritty romantic suspense, which features levity and a tight-knit group of characters.
PREMIUM

Hidden Cove

Tilly continues to play in the foggy shadows of charming Solace Island (after Cliff’s Edge), giving fans the intriguing combination of a hot romance and a disturbing crime spree.

Angel in a Devil’s Arms

With a sizzling romance, an intriguing revenge plot, and a cast of quirky Palace guests, this next installment of Long’s luscious new series is smart and deliciously sensual. Fans will devour this title, while newcomers will immediately want to track down the first book (Lady Derring Takes a Lover).
PREMIUM

American Love Story

Herrera returns to her “Dreamers” series with a sexy romance that explores stereotypes and racial injustice. While this stands alone, characters from American Dreamer and American Fairytale make appearances, so libraries owning these first two books in the series will want to purchase. Recommended for all libraries.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

This stunning romance tackles important topics, such as living with disability and surviving emotional abuse, without ever getting bogged down in despair. Hibbert’s prose sparkles, and the heat is high, making this new series launch, the author’s first with a mainstream publisher, perfect for fans of Tessa Bailey’s “Hot & Hammered” series or Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient. Hibbert’s extensive self-published backlist, especially the “Ravenswood” series, can fill demand while readers wait for her next “Brown Sisters” book.
PREMIUM

My Fake Rake

In this first book of her new “Union of the Rakes” series, Leigh (“The London Underground” series) adopts the fake dating trope to the Regency Era in a wildly fun and entertaining way, introducing characters who are sure to delight fans of this beloved genre.
PREMIUM

Born To Be a Cowboy

Readers who prefer their Westerns with a dash of suspense will find this latest from Ryan (after The Cowboy Next Door) an ideal choice. The action and danger ramp up from the beginning and never let down. Includes a bonus short story by A.J. Pine.
PREMIUM

The Rancher’s Redemption

Those who love family drama, redemption stories, and satisfying romance all rolled into one will want this title. Pearce’s series featuring the Miller family, beginning with The Second Chance Rancher, continues to lend itself to emotional, engaging stories.
PREMIUM

The Princess Plan

A surprisingly uneven entry from the best-selling London (The Trouble with Honor). While some readers will love the Victorian commoner-meets-royalty fairy-tale plot, others may find the romance between these two mismatched characters remains unconvincing.
PREMIUM

Zed

Kavenna (The Birth of Love), winner of the Orange Award and Granta Best of Young British Novelists, brings wit and moments of levity to this portentously dark look at a society ruled by corporate technology. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/2019.]
PREMIUM

Crush the King

Estep (Protect the Prince) knows how to create strong and relatable fantasy female leads. Evie’s rise into her power in deeds and magic is a fabulous, inspiring read. Solid writing, bold characters, and action-filled sequences create an exciting finish for this trilogy. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]
PREMIUM

Big Familia

This debut novel from Rad Dad ‘zine editor Moniz is a sweet look at a multilayered modern family and Juan’s possibilities at the precipice of his complicated life. Recommended for readers of domestic fiction with an urban/modern twist, like the works of Stephen McCauley.
PREMIUM

NVK

A pleasurable if weird stroll through familiar grounds, vampire lite.
PREMIUM

Processed Cheese

While the satire is occasionally obvious and over-the-top, this is a richly comic—and one might say, right on the money
PREMIUM

Under Nushagak Bluff

The story will appeal to readers who enjoy regional novels and tales of strong women.
PREMIUM

The Mutations

In his first work, young Mexican writer Comensal creates markedly credible characters and instills a vein of humor with a cussing parrot and Ramón’s clueless and self-absorbed adolescent children. But this book remains a chilling reminder of the suffering, both physiological and psychological, that cancer patients and their families endure. For those who have cared for a cancer patient or have been victims themselves, it hits very close to home, reminding many that its gravity trumps humor.
PREMIUM

The Colonel’s Wife

Some readers may find it hard to stomach the violence inflicted on our heroine and others by the Colonel. Many will also find her political views appalling. And a further caveat: this slim but engaging work, seamlessly translated, is quite sexually explicit in places. Recommended especially for readers curious about life in an era and culture other than their own.
PREMIUM

Small Days and Nights

In dreamlike writing that overflows with emotion, Doshi investigates culture, caste, politics, and ethics, as Grace struggles to bring some semblance of meaning to her life. Sure to be popular with book clubs and readers who appreciate getting caught up in a work that transports them beyond borders. [See Prepub Alert. 7/15/19.]
PREMIUM

When We Were Vikings

In this well-written and compelling novel, MacDonald conveys Zelda’s particular challenges and succeeds in bringing her to life.
PREMIUM

Broken Man on a Halifax Pier

Charles may be broken, but his hometown and the ocean itself seem to live and breathe. A great vacation book, one to take to the beach or to curl up with by the fireplace.
PREMIUM

Arroyo

A promising and ambitious effort despite its drawbacks, this work is recommended for fans of debut novels, historical fiction, and books about small-town America.

Lady Clementine

This outstanding story deserves wide readership. Fans of historical fiction, especially set around World War II; readers who appreciate strong, intelligent female leads; or those who just want to read a compelling page-turner will enjoy this gem of a novel. [See Prepub Alert, 7/1/19.]
PREMIUM

Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung

Though some of the stories feel overly experimental and some retellings work better than others, this reenvisioning of Ovid’s immortal work offers passages of unforgettable beauty and much strength in the voices of women trying to become themselves.
PREMIUM

The Mercies

The latest from Hargrave (The Deathless Girls) is slow paced and deliberate, as if dreading its own unhappy denouement. It’s strength lies in the richly researched details of primitive Norwegian village life, which illustrate how the women scrape a livelihood from the barren subarctic. [See Prepub Alert, 8/1/19.]
PREMIUM

Mercy Road

Creel (The Whiskey Sea) brings the story of the World War I–era American Women’s Hospital to vivid life through Arlene’s eyes. Readers who enjoy World War I fiction will appreciate both the combination of wartime action and personal drama and Arlene’s inspiring courage in the face of danger.
PREMIUM

Dilly and Boz

This latest from Inman (“Belladonna Arms” series) could fit the bill for readers looking for contemporary romance that edges into thriller territory, though some may sense a touch of too much instalove.

The Seep

This surreal debut takes on themes of utopia, identity, love, and loss, while readers are pulled into a full experience through Porter’s fluid prose. This unusual story will linger long past the last page.

Come Tumbling Down

The fifth volume of the “Wayward Children” series (after In an Absent Dream) gives readers the epic ending (is it really the end?) of Jack and Jill’s story line. Once again, McGuire gives readers a starkly poignant tale of longing, love, and belonging.

The Best of Uncanny

This delightful volume of imaginative writing will be devoured by genre fans and newcomers alike.

Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles

This anthology will be mostly of interest to Beatles fans, but even non-fans will find stories here that will move and surprise them.

Lady Hotspur

While this novel is not a direct sequel to Gratton’s Queens of Innis Lear, the character stories and references from the previous novel will delight the author’s longtime readers. The wondrous worldbuilding, strong female leads, and plot filled with regicide, regrets, prophecies, and magic create an intricate and layered story of honor, family, and love.
PREMIUM

The Gatherer

This near-future sf thriller illuminates tipping points in ecological power and scientific pursuit. An action-packed plot, with well-rounded characters and an intriguing premise make it recommended for all collections.

A Beginning at the End

Sometimes it is not the violent battles of post-apocalyptic stories that pull readers in; it is the emotional connection of humanity finding their way. Chen’s (Here and Now and Then) prose lights a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro

Readers will be swept in by this strong protagonist and stunning worldbuilding, with a plot full of questions and surprises. Villoso’s cunning, exciting debut is a new fantasy epic that readers will clamor for.
PREMIUM

Sword of Kings

One can start with this volume, but readers of history and warfare, not to mention Game of Thrones fans, will want to go back and read the entire series, especially with four seasons filmed for British television. [See Prepub Alert, 5/13/19.]
PREMIUM

The Truants

Though the outlines of the story are familiar, Jess is eminently sympathetic and likable, and Weinberg skillfully depicts the headiness of the transition to college life. The ending feels needlessly protracted, however, as Jess spends several years during and after college (and following what should be the climax of the novel) attempting to solve the mystery of what happened her first year. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/19.]

Shuggie Bain

As it beautifully and shockingly illustrates how Shuggie ends up alone, this novel offers a testament to the indomitable human spirit. Very highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/19.]

Penny for Your Secrets

In the follow-up to Treacherous Is the Night, Huber focuses on characters who are struggling with postwar memories, depicting the upper-class life more typical of Downton Abbey than books by Charles Todd or Jacqueline Winspear. Readers looking for atmospheric mystery set in the period following the Great War will savor the intricate plotting and captivating details of the era.

Barbara’s Picks (Constantine, McCreight, King, Panowich, Pochoda, Turow), plus 13 More Bone Rattlers: Thriller Previews, May 2020, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

PREMIUM

The Pursuit of William Abbey

Recommended for fantasy fans with a penchant for darker story lines that investigate themes of colonialism and struggles for power. [See Prepub Alert, 5/5/19.]
PREMIUM

The Highlander’s Christmas Bride

An abundance of adventure and an unusual premise quickly draw readers in to this Scotland-set Regency, making Kelly’s latest “Clan Kendrick” novel (The Highlander Who Protected Me) a perfect Christmas read, complete with family drama that could stand as a story all its own.
PREMIUM

Goalie Interference

Fans of sports romances will adore these two alpha males trying to figure out how to work and play together nicely.
PREMIUM

A Convenient Fiction

Readers who enjoy their historicals set in the country- or seaside and France or England will be in for a treat.
PREMIUM

The Devil in the Saddle

London’s second “Princes of Texas” series installment (after The Charmer in Chaps) will delight readers who enjoy a soft-hearted soldier, a spirited heroine, and relatable, entertaining family dynamics.

Love for All | Romance Preview 2019

A Conversation with Eve Rodsky, Author of Fair Play

Fall/Winter Bests | Debut Novels

Barbara’s Picks (Alexander McCall Smith), Plus Great Series Additions: Mystery Previews, May 2020, Pt. 1 | Prepub Alert

Eldridge's Debut of the Month, Huber's Pick, plus Ferrari, Miller, Noble, Pandian, Sweazy, Tursten, & Cozies from Crosby, Stein, & Fletcher | Mystery & Suspense, Nov. 2019

PREMIUM

An Irish Country Family

Taylor’s fans will need no convincing, but also suggest this warm story to those who enjoy novels by Maeve Binchy.
PREMIUM

The Wrong Girl

Old Hollywood, silent film stars, the Jazz Age, and strong female characters all combine to create a solid read for crime fiction fans of all stripes.

A Conversation with Afia Atakora, Author of Conjure Women

Barbara’s Picks (Ishmael Beah, Christina Dalcher, Paulette Jiles, & Ian McGuire), Plus More Titles with Literary–Popular Crossover: Fiction Previews, Apr. 2020, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

Women’s, SF/Fantasy, Historical: Top Pop Fiction Previews, Apr. 2020, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

PREMIUM

The Girl at the Door

In a story reminiscent of The Scarlet Letter but with a more salacious vocabulary, emotional polarities abound while the accused expresses no remorse, only self-interest. Provocative reading for the brave. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]
PREMIUM

The Nanny

Macmillan (What She Knew) is a master of suspense, and this latest engrossing tale does not disappoint. Stock up on multiple copies. [See Prepub Alert, 3/11/19.]
PREMIUM

Murder Off the Page

Lehane successfully manufactures drama and intrigue and offers up plausible red herrings, surprising readers as often as bewildering them with questionable character choices, but this quick read is mostly for patrons who enjoy modern murder mysteries and can withstand some well-worn tropes and stereotypes. [See Prepub Alert, 4/22/19.]
PREMIUM

The Bodies in the Library

The heroine of this new series from Wingate (“Potting Shed” series) is a pushover for anyone with more confidence, including her daughter, her boyfriend, the secretary at the library, and the writers. Owing to her lack of knowledge and insecurity, the book feels too long. Fans of Golden Age mysteries would do better to read the authors themselves.
PREMIUM

Code of Conduct

In a pulse-pounding story featuring a captivating interracial couple paired with a riveting adventure, this strong series launch from White (An Urchin of Means) casts equally original and intriguing supporting characters, who will hopefully headline future entries. A thrill for readers of Sandra Brown or Kristen Ashley.
PREMIUM

Bound in Flame

More of a coming-of-age tale than a romance, this debut’s lush early 1900s Hawaiian setting fails to overcome a meandering story full of details but lacking in focus. Magic is used as a convenient plot device to prop up a heroine of color who deserves to be extraordinary in her own right. Issues of racism, colonialism, and sexism are handled clumsily. Not recommended

Little Voices

Fast paced and psychologically complex, this debut mystery has plenty of twists and turns that will appeal to fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Megan Abbott.

71 Superb Titles | Starred Reviews, October 2019

A Conversation with Lara Prescott, Author of The Secrets We Kept

Barbara’s Picks (Julia Alvarez, Sebastian Barry, Dalia Sofer), Plus Debuts & Diversity: Literary Fiction Previews, Apr. 2020, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

PREMIUM

All About Evie

Lamb (The Man She Married) offers an uproarious yet tender story of belonging and identity. Touching on issues of adoption, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and harassment, this is an endearing expression of trust, love, and what it means to be a family.
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