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The Night Watchman

National Book Award winner Erdrich once again calls upon her considerable storytelling skills to elucidate the struggles of generations of Native people to retain their cultural identity and their connection to the land. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/19.]
PREMIUM

Undercover Bromance

Adams’s latest (The Bromance Book Club) combines humorous elements that balance the heavier themes of workplace harassment, resulting in a fast-paced romance that offers both laughs and greater social relevance.
PREMIUM

Verge

A dark and often unsettling collection that some readers will find difficult but that will reward those seeking fierce, intimate writing. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/19.]
PREMIUM

The Queen’s Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire

The indefatigably imaginative Phillips, whose works range from Prague, about Budapest, to The Tragedy of Arthur, which contains a Shakespearean play written by Phillips, offers historical fiction with aching contemporary overtones. Highly recommended, especially for those knowledgeable about the period and for anyone who enjoys a truly original yarn. [See Prepub Alert, 7/21/19.]
PREMIUM

The Woman of a Thousand Names

This novel by award-winning historical novelist Lapierre (Between Love and Honor) was first published in French in 2016. The story integrates verbatim quotes with imagined conversations and settings. Realistic yet fantastical in its account of the audacious Maria, this is a rewarding rediscovery of a memorable woman.

The Resisters

Though her talent and aplomb win out in a satisfying conclusion, Gwen struggles with the inequality and oppression of AutoAmerica, and readers will be left wondering whether we are living in such a culture today. Highly recommended for discerning readers. [
PREMIUM

Every Bit a Rogue

Basso (Intimate Betrayal) allows for romance to kindle and build between Emma and Jon with just a touch of drama to keep the plot compelling. This is perfect for readers who prefer a Regency romance driven by the characters’ desires rather than an outside element of suspense.
PREMIUM

Promised

Debut author Garriott’s smooth prose and character-driven story will enthrall readers looking for sweet historicals with Austen-esque plots.
PREMIUM

New Waves

Savvy and savage (with plenty of racist, sexist, sociopolitical bite), pop lit doyen Nguyen’s fiction debut is poised to trigger “new waves.”
PREMIUM

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

Though the characterizations sometimes come a little too close to caricature, West has expertly captured the high school culture of today in a novel that is at times cringe-worthy and eventually hopeful. Readers of Amy Poeppel’s Small Admissions and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies will want this one.
PREMIUM

A Tender Thing

While the writing is a little dry at times, the theme is sure to appeal to fans of musical theater. Readers of Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls or Fiona Davis’s The Chelsea Girls will enjoy, too. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/19.]

Deacon King Kong

Much is unpacked by the time the book reaches its lovely and heartfelt climax, as McBride shows what can happen when people set aside their differences. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Spike Lee. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/19.]
PREMIUM

The Bachelor

Jeffries (“Sinful Suitors” series) explores the cultural mores of early Regency London to weave a tale of blackmail, spies, and a Season debut. Joshua is a fascinating hero, the only untitled male among the series’ rather gentried family and always aware of the fact. There is an overarching series mystery developing, but readers yet to pick up the previous title, Project Duchess, shouldn’t be deterred.

The Coyotes of Carthage

This is an archly comic and ultimately chilling political novel on the effects of the dark money unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on the American political soul as well as on the souls of individuals. Thoughtful, sharp-edged fare for the upcoming election year. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/19.]

Writers & Lovers

While never minimizing the seriousness of Casey’s personal problems, the book is also funny and romantic and hard to put down, full of well-observed details of restaurant culture and writer’s workshops. It’s hard to imagine a reader who wouldn’t root for Casey. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/19.].

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau

A heady literary and genre-bending novel for fans of Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, and Adolfo Bioy Caseres.
PREMIUM

Bird Summons

Incorporating elements of magical realism and tales from both the Quran and Anglo folk traditions, this latest from Aboulela (The Kindness of Enemies) is a strange mix of domestic realism and fantasy/allegory. The supernatural aspects start out subtly and almost unnoticeably but begin to take over in the book’s last third, which makes the conclusion a bit heavy-handed if intriguing.
PREMIUM

These Ghosts Are Family

Set in both Jamaica and New York, this debut novel effectively reveals contrasting cultures and customs. Though the Jamaican patois requires close attention, readers of general fiction will enjoy unraveling the threads of this complex tale. [See Prepub Alert, .

The Borgia Confessions

Palombo’s (The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel) excellent tale of family infighting, jockeying for power, and exploiting the church to attain personal wealth and power will keep readers enthralled long into the night. Who needs sleep, anyway?

How Much of These Hills Is Gold

This moving tale of family, gold, and freedom rings with a truth that defies rosy preconceptions. The description of human and environmental degradation is balanced by shining characters who persevere greatly. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 10/7/19.]

How To Pronounce Knife

Cosmopolitan aficionados of pristine short fiction—think Paul Yoon, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Phil Klay
PREMIUM

The Antidote for Everything

Readers looking for hot romance should look elsewhere

The Cactus League

A triumphant debut; enthusiastically recommended for fans of literary fiction and great sports writing.
PREMIUM

In Search of Truth

The plot is fast paced but may require some suspension of disbelief, while the romance is mediocre at best, with not much in the way of chemistry between Allison and Zack. Purchase only where previous series entries (Every Deep Desire) circulate well.

Girl Gone Viral

Rai follows up The Right Swipe with a sweet and spicy romance that delves into some deep issues of mental health for both main characters (severe anxiety and PTSD), as well as the effects of social media on people’s lives. Essential for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/19.]
PREMIUM

Hearts on Hold

The sex is exciting and sometimes risqué (getting it on in a public greenhouse!), but the more satisfying and well-developed elements are the examination of identity and the importance of supportive friends. Reid’s latest (The Write Escape) is a win for readers who desire steam and substance.
PREMIUM

The Second Chance Boutique

Fran and Rafe are the unfortunate couple who equate fights that begin over absolutely nothing with passion in their relationship, which could be off-putting for readers. Still, those who fantasize about that perfect wedding dress and wouldn’t miss an episode of Say Yes to the Dress will enjoy.

The Fifth Avenue Story Society

Examining how the tales we tell have the power to hurt and to heal, Hauck’s crossover novel is for both romance and inspirational readers. Its message will resonate with readers long after the last page.

The Immortals of Tehran

A highly recommended literary page-turner worth a second reading; fans of Gabriel García Márquez will delight in this fantastical—and fantastic

Apeirogon

Organized into 1,001 sections, this novel from McCann (Let the Great World Spin) beautifully re-creates Rami and Bassam’s real-life relationship while offering a sweeping range of counterbalancing narratives, ultimately conveying the profound essentiality of their friendship. An important book; McCann’s considerable creative powers astound. [See Prepub Alert, 7/21/19.]

Amnesty

Like Valeria Luiselli in Lost Children Archive, Adiga bears witness to the disruption, pain, and hardship inherent in needing to leave one’s country and find refuge elsewhere. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/19.]

This Won’t End Well

A touching story that is perfect for fans of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette and the humor of Jennifer Weiner’s novels, this book is for those who understand the difficulties of tackling life, work, and love as a millennial.

The Glass Hotel

Highly recommended; with superb writing and an intricately connected plot that ticks along like clockwork, Mandel offers an unnerving critique of the twinned modern plagues of income inequality and cynical opportunism. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/19.]
PREMIUM

The Honey-Don’t List

The author duo’s many fans will enjoy this charming romance. [see the Q&A, p. 71.]

Oona Out of Order

Montimore (Asleep from Day) delivers a rock-and-roll love letter to 1980s–90s New York City as Oona discovers her true self through a lifetime of music and pop culture. A perfect match for those who enjoy well-developed characters with a twist in contemporary women’s fiction.
PREMIUM

The Happy Ever After Playlist

With a playlist running throughout the novel, this book will strike a chord with music-loving romance readers. A first-tier purchase for public libraries.
PREMIUM

Wild, Wild Rake

MacGregor’s latest in the “Cavensham Heiresses” series (The Bad Luck Bride) will delight those looking to warm their hearts with a tender read. Passionately defiant of her past, Avalon aims to right the wrongs in Regency England, while Devan stands at the ready to help her. Though the sixth book in the series, this is still a great jumping-on point for new readers.
PREMIUM

The Regrets

Bonnaffons raises many provocative questions about human relationships in the 21st century, particularly the urgent search for intimacy that ironically is so often sabotaged by endless casual encounters. Spicy hot, impish, and not without its moments of poignancy and, yes, regrets. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/19.]
PREMIUM

Real Life

...
PREMIUM

You and Me and Us

Those who love a poignant family drama will tear up as they consider how to navigate life without the one person who makes every day worth living. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/19.]
PREMIUM

The Light After the War

Fans of Marta Hall Kelley and Kristin Hannah will delight in this powerful tale of strong female friendship and second-chance romance set in picturesque Naples, Venezuela, and Australia.
PREMIUM

Photos of You

For fans of Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You, this book should be read with a big box of tissues nearby. However, it never veers into the maudlin, as Ava is funny and cranky and human. With a strong sense of place and well-drawn characters, this will fit well in most fiction collections.

For Love of Jane | Fiction, Jan. 2020

Living Grace Fully | Fiction, Jan. 2020

PREMIUM

The Third To Die

Brennan is well known for her psychological thrillers and this is another great addition that will be enjoyed by mystery and psychological thriller readers. [See Prepub Alert, 7/29/19.]
PREMIUM

Crooked River

Preston and Child’s latest could be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. Recommended for mystery readers who enjoy bizarre twists.
PREMIUM

Dead to Her

A mix of steamy sex, lies, secrets, betrayals, murder, and a dash of voodoo, Pinborough’s latest novel (after Cross Her Heart) will keep readers guessing until the very last chapter. A twisty thriller for fans of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train. [See Prepub Alert, 7/29/19.]
PREMIUM

Felicity Carrol and the Murderous Menace

Because of the change in setting, most of the characters from the previous book do not appear. Felicity retains her feisty spirit and wit and once again has to battle for acceptance and credibility in a male-dominated society. Readers will look forward to her next adventure.
PREMIUM

The Aosawa Murders

A chilling and skillfully crafted mystery about the spellbinding spaces between evidence, facts, intuition, and the will of a killer.
PREMIUM

The Other Mrs

Kubica (Every Last Lie) writes a mesmerizing tale with an unreliable narrator that draws attention to a less-understood mental health condition, but the story is wrapped up a bit too neatly. What is satisfying and most effective is the oppressive sense of unease that permeates this intense psychological suspense drama. For fans of A.J. Finn and Gillian Flynn.[See Prepub Alert, 7/29/19.]
PREMIUM

The Girls with No Names

A well-plotted story with an excellent sense of time and place. Readers looking for historical fiction with emotional depth will enjoy. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/19.]
PREMIUM

Heart of Junk

Readers hoping for a Carl Hiaasen–esque view of the antiquing world will be disappointed. The characters are drawn with too heavy a hand; most of them are borderline hoarders who are more interested in their stuff than they are in forming or maintaining basic human connections.
PREMIUM

Benediction

As a Western, there are a few notable missteps here: errors about horse coat coloring, a much-too-long description of cooking gnocchi, and not enough time devoted to actual cow punching or horse breaking. This is best for readers interested in a visceral take on a cowboy reinventing himself.

House on Fire

This thriller is not only topical but beautifully driven by the intricacies of personal agendas, both obvious and hidden. Easily read as a stand-alone as well as part of the series, this is sure to captivate a new audience and bring them to the Joseph Finder backlist. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/19.]

Barbara’s Picks (Bill Clegg, Yiyun Li, Maggie O’Farrell, & More), Plus Literary Glitter Galore: Fiction Previews, Jul. 2020, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

Barbara’s Picks (Center, Chase, Franqui, Sullivan), Plus More Hot Pop: Fiction Previews, Jul. 2020, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

PREMIUM

A Beautiful Crime

Bollen links each of the two narratives in significant ways to the criminal adventure to offer skillfully wrought crime fiction plumbing LGBTQ romance and the meaning of love.

The Revisioners

The dynamics of a brutal past encompassing violence and racial inequality is core here, but the narrative is significant for acknowledging that elements of that past are not completely past and for portraying two fearless women separated by time but both dealing with white women’s racism. Recommended for all collections.
PREMIUM

The Wonderful

Sarginson’s (The Stranger) darkly atmospheric style evokes the mystery and tension at the heart of the Cold War, appealing to enthusiasts of Richard Condon’s The Manchurian Candidate and other Cold War–era thrillers.
PREMIUM

Skunk Train

Clifford (“Jay Porter” series) delivers a fast-paced, readable thriller. Readers of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders will enjoy this coming-of-age story; fans of Daniel Woodrell will appreciate its focus on family ties; and admirers of Richard Lange will delight in the California setting.

When You See Me

A must-read for fans of this prolific author, Michael Connelly, and John Sandford. Some pivotal series developments occur, but otherwise this reads well as a stand-alone. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/19.]
PREMIUM

Grace Is Gone

This character-driven book will appeal especially to those who enjoy thrillers featuring people who are not what they seem to be, and readers who appreciate flawed but sympathetic characters. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/19.]
PREMIUM

Sharks in the Time of Saviors

A more than noteworthy first foray into contemporary fiction by Hawaiian native Washburn. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/19.]

PREMIUM

The Lucky One

The award-winning author of Under a Dark Sky puts a new spin on unreliable narrators in a suspense novel with protagonists struggling to find answers. Fans of Rader-Day’s other compelling stand-alones will savor this riveting mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 7/29/19.]
PREMIUM

Murder at the Opera

This third “Atlas Catesby” mystery (following Murder in Bloomsbury) ties up several story lines. Fans of the series will welcome the latest developments, while readers of novels set in Regency England will relish the atmosphere of the period and well-developed characters.

Love's Secrets | Romance Reviews, Dec. 2019

Horror Author Darcy Coates Arrives Stateside

Oh, the Horrors! Read On...If You Dare

Police Procedurals, Private Investigators, & Dogs |Mystery Previews, Jul. 2020, Pt. 1 | Prepub Alert

Barbara’s Picks (Slaughter, Tremblay, & Fiction Debuters DeWitt & Waite), plus More Big Names, Up-and-Comers, Supernatural & Sociopolitical Thrills, & Suspense Too Close for Comfort: Thriller Previews, Jul. 2020, Pt. 1 | Prepub Alert

Murder at the Mena House

Stunning revelations, romance, adventure, and intrigue abound in this multilayered, delightfully entertaining whodunit. Neubauer’s debut dazzles, with a smart plot, remarkable scenery, and skilled execution.
PREMIUM

Revolver Road

Daugherty has created a complex, likable heroine whom readers will root for, fully fleshed-out secondary characters, and a compelling plot. Fans of fictional newshounds created by Laura Lippman, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Edna Buchanan will enjoy this series. [See Prepub Alert, 8/19/19.]

Murder at the Capitol

Gleason follows Murder in the Oval Library with a riveting historical mystery set on the eve of the first major battle of the Civil War. Fans of descriptive historical mysteries will appreciate the mix of real people and intriguing fictional characters.

Please See Us

Written in multiple first-person accounts, including the voices of several murdered women, this is a dark, gritty, and cathartic debut with well-developed characters and a compelling plot that will appeal to fans of Attica Locke, Lou Berney, and Jennifer Hillier. [See Prepub Alert, 8/25/19.]

The Holdout

The twists are sharp and the flashbacks that uncover what each juror knows are placed for maximum impact in this rollicking legal thriller. In this departure from his carefully plotted historical fiction, Moore (The Last Days of Night) expertly combines deft character work with mounting bombshell revelations in a story that will attract new readers and also seems primed for the big screen. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/19.]
PREMIUM

The Better Liar

Debut author Jones has created a taut psychological suspense with surprising developments and a shocking, jaw-dropping ending. Sure to be popular with fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn.
PREMIUM

The Rabbit Hunter

With a captivating detective, a hideous serial killer, and nonstop suspense, this confirms Kepler as a master of disturbing psychological crime novels, showing the darker side of humanity. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/19.]
PREMIUM

Careless Whiskers

Fans of the series will welcome the return of all the quirky characters, from Charlie and his Maine coon cat, Diesel, to the Ducote sisters. However, readers who enjoy the theater can quickly catch up with this latest book that brings together the playwright, cast, and behind-the-scenes action. Charlie provides some laugh-aloud moments in this follow-up to The Pawful Truth.
PREMIUM

Bound for Murder

As with Cleo Coyle’s “Coffeehouse” mysteries, Gilbert’s library mysteries (Past Due for Murder) are darker than many cozies. The well-developed characters and complex issues will appeal to fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James.
PREMIUM

Last Day

Strong love overcomes pain in this latest from Rice (Pretend She’s Here), which combines suspense with stories of surviovors, sisterhood, best friends, and small communities shaken by violence or death.
PREMIUM

Thunder Bay

Imbued with the stark beauty of Scottish island life, this atmospheric mystery pulls us into an exploration of human frailty, family loyalty, and the destructive power of secrets. For readers of Denise Mina or anyone seeking a relatable protagonist and a well-told story.
PREMIUM

Eight Perfect Murders

The wintry New England setting and eerily cool narration, together with trust-no-one twists and garish murders, will satisfy thriller readers; fans of classic mysteries by Agatha Christie, Ira Levin, and John D. MacDonald will enjoy how Swanson (Before She Knew Him) repurposes the plots. While you may not warm to Malcolm, you’ll stay to the finish of this one. [See Prepub Alert, 8/25/19.]

The Look-Alike

Spindler keeps the pages turning with a taut plot and multiple suspects who appear suspicious right up to the end. Highly recommended for fans of romantic suspense authors Nora Roberts and Linda Howard. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/19.]
PREMIUM

Mr. Nobody

Steadman (Something in the Water) strikes an engaging balance between character development and action in this satisfying, intricately plotted thriller that will appeal to fans of Sarah Pinborough and Ruth Ware. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/19.]
PREMIUM

The Burglar in Short Order

Enthusiasts of the “Burglar” series will delight in revisiting Bernie’s beginnings, his bookshop, and his introduction to Raffles. Readers new to the series will enjoy this introduction to a charming character.
PREMIUM

Trouble in Mind

Wiley follows the success of Monument Road with a violent mystery that introduces a singular character guided by his sometimes twisted thoughts. Readers of L.L. Bartlett’s “Jeff Resnick” mysteries may be intrigued by another sleuth who learns to cope with his brain injury.

Unspeakable Things

The atmospheric suspense novel is haunting because it’s narrated from the point of view of a 13 year old, an age that should be more innocent but often isn’t. Even more chilling, it’s based on real-life incidents. Lourey may be known for comic capers (March of Crime), but this tense novel combines the best of a coming-of-age story with suspense, and an unforgettable young narrator.
PREMIUM

Engaged to the Earl

Although Berne’s (The Bride Takes a Groom) dialog for female characters is often melodramatic and may not appeal to every reader, followers of the series will enjoy seeing a prodigal son returning home to find his match.
PREMIUM

Lean on Me

Fans of Simmons’s books (“Love at the Crossroads” series) will probably want to pick up this first in a new series; others may wish to pass.
PREMIUM

An Everyday Hero

Though part of the “Heart of a Hero” series (following The Military Wife), Trentham’s romance with themes of family, music, and military can stand alone. Recommended for purchase where contemporary romance is popular.
PREMIUM

Calling on Quinn

Fans of romances featuring possessive alpha heroes may be the right audience for this one.
PREMIUM

Wicked Cowboy Wolf

Series fans will enjoy Ballenger’s latest, as the heat between Maeve and Rogue smolders on the page. New readers, however, should start at the beginning of the series with Cowboy Wolf Trouble.
PREMIUM

Forbidden Promises

Politics, passion, and family drama combine to make a deliciously soapy second-chance, brother’s-best-friend romance. Readers of Alisha Rai’s “Forbidden Hearts” series or Reese Ryan’s Engaging the Enemy will be tantalized and surprised by the many twists and turns.

The Vanishing

With romance, mystery, intrigue, and a host of paranormal elements, Krentz’s (When All the Girls Have Gone) latest will hook fans across genres. The gratifying denouement leaves room for series potential as well.
PREMIUM

Ignite on Contact

Despite overly descriptive passages that slow down the pacing, Burton (Hot to the Touch) delivers a steamy story with two relationship-shy neighbors whose stubbornness fans their passions. For fans of Erin McCarthy and Bella Andre.
PREMIUM

To Have and To Hoax

Debuter Waters is off to a promising start with a rare historical romantic comedy that is sure to delight fans of either genre. [Previewed in Eve Stano’s Romance Preview, “Love for All,” LJ 10/19.]
PREMIUM

Never Kiss a Duke

An unmoored former duke trying to find his footing and navigate a new life and an independent woman confident in the world she’s built from the ground up are surrounded by an engaging cast of secondary characters in this excellent start to a bold and sensual new Regency series from the beloved Frampton (Never a Bride).
PREMIUM

You Deserve Each Other

While many have compared this to Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, die-hard fans of that work will be disappointed by the lack of passion here. Those seeking a hate-to-love romance, however, should enjoy, as will admirers of Christina Lauren’s Dating You Hating You.

The Eighth Life

If it’s a family saga you’re seeking, look no further than this grand tale, ably translated by Collins and Martin. The author gracefully interweaves the historical backdrop of her novel with the lives of her characters, thus adding depth to her story. Heartily recommended.
PREMIUM

Sisters by Choice

If readers don’t mind the toxic relationships and heated arguments that dominate the story, there is still the happy ending to look forward to, and three endearing main characters to root for. [See Prepub Alert, 8/12/19.]
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