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Golden Girl

Another great read from Hilderbrand, sure to please her many fans and new readers alike.

Daughters of Sparta

Recommended for fans of Madeline Miller or readers interested in Greek mythology, historical fiction, and women leading characters.


A Song Everlasting

Some readers may not find the protagonist’s internal struggle compelling, but his story is written with heart and hope.

The Therapist

Paris’s fifth novel (after The Dilemma) is not on the same level as her great debut, Behind Closed Doors. Alice is overeager, insipid, and immature; she makes terrible decisions and flails willy-nilly throughout the story. Supporting characters are not fleshed out nor likable, making it hard to become invested. The big reveal is unconvincing, and the killer’s backstory isn’t particularly believable. Only for diehard Paris fans.

Bone Rattle

Cameron writes with great respect for Indigenous Alaskans and builds suspense steadily in this story. Readers can pick up this installment without having read the other titles in the series. This crime fiction won’t disappoint fans of law enforcement novels and adventures set in the Alaska wilderness.

Two Old Men and a Baby: Or, How Hendrik and Evert Get Themselves into a Jam

A very funny book that should appeal widely.

Above the Rain

Readers of his previous works will welcome the author’s ambition, but fans of crime fiction may struggle with the meandering pace and abandon the story before he successfully pulls all the threads together.

Debut Author Ash Davidson Discusses Her Epic, Immersive Novel Damnation Spring

Read-Alikes for ‘The Maidens’ by Alex Michaelides | LibraryReads


Black Sci-Fi Short Stories

The latest installment of Flame Tree Press’s “Gothic Fantasy” series has something for every speculative fiction taste. All of the short stories, old and new, are written by authors of color, and many have appeared in other compilations. The oldest story, by Martin Delany, was first published before the American Civil War; the most recent were published in 2019. The W. E. B. Du Bois short story “The Comet” appears on several college required reading lists.


Big Dark Hole: And Other Stories

In this collection, Ford (“The Well-Built City” trilogy) serves up a variety of staples from the sci-fi/horror buffet: monsters, ghosts, fairies, and even a creepy carnival. Exacting language and well-drawn characters give these stories enough depth to satisfy both sci-fi/fantasy fans and literary fiction readers. Seamlessly blending the surreal with the mundane, Ford gives readers an innocuous ride to places they never knew they wanted to go. Recommended for fans of Neil Gaiman and Ursula Le Guin.

The Gene of Life

A clunky thriller that relies entirely on plot and character tropes to move the action along. However, it also throws so much at the reader, at such a fast pace, that the reader cannot be faulted for occasional confusion. Others may find that the numerous conspiracy theories Takashima builds into the plot add excitement, but they also create the quagmire of a little too much for one title.


This Thing Between Us

Creepy and engaging, this work will make an impactful addition to horror sections and displays.

Chasing the Boogeyman

For true crime and horror fans, this one’s essential.

Read-Alikes for ‘The President’s Daughter’ by Bill Clinton and James Patterson | LibraryReads


Jim Hanvey, Detective

The slow-moving detective stories, with no murder or violence, are likely to appeal to readers who enjoy classic short mysteries such as G. K. Chesterton’s “Father Brown” tales.

The Warlord

Fans of Showalter’s long-running series will be elated to finally have a story with Taliyah as the main character, while new readers will be able to step into the established world at the start of a new story arc. For fans of paranormal romance with snarky characters and quippy lines.

Learning To Speak Southern

Readers of Southern and women’s fiction will become deeply immersed in this mother-daughter narrative.

Neon Gods

Though the worldbuilding is sparse, and a few of the pop culture references might feel out of place, this modern-day retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone has lots to offer for romance fans looking for a slightly darker romance.

The Shape of Darkness

This is a well-crafted Gothic tale, complete with a compulsive mystery and the visceral medical details of Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars.

Should We Stay or Should We Go

As an exercise in possibility--how any of us may reach old age and face death--this novel is sometimes prophetic, sometimes preposterous, but never boring.

The Other Passenger

Sure to please readers looking for thrillers in the vein of Lisa Jewell and Aimee Molloy; a single-sitting page-turner with character and thematic depth.

The Family Plot

Diehard mystery/thriller fans may be disappointed, and true crime fans will be confused as to why they were led here.

Choose Me

With deceitful characters and plenty of twists, this novel is highly recommended for fans of Gerritsen or Braver, and readers who love suspense stories.

A Lonely Man

A combination of political thriller, mystery, and meditation on artists’ responsibility to their subjects, this follow-up to Power’s story collection Mothers is a satisfying blend of thoughtfulness and suspense.

Rock the Boat

First-time novelist Dorey-Stein has written the perfect beach read, filled with delicious heart and meaty observations about knotty relationship issues and offering surprises and delights with every chapter. Expect renewed interest in her 2018 memoir of her career as a White House stenographer, From the Corner of the Oval.


Impostor Syndrome

A smart character study for fans of Dave Eggers’s The Circle looking for a different perspective.

The Sweetest Charade

A solid addition for public library collections.

Rare Vigilance

Libraries where the author’s other books are popular should consider.

LJ Talks to Horror Writer V. Castro, Author of ‘The Queen of the Cicadas’

Read-Alikes for ‘Golden Girl’ by Elin Hilderbrand | LibraryReads


The Mixtape

Some readers may balk at the wish fulfillment plot, where a favorite musician falls madly in love with his biggest fan; it feels a little over-the-top. However, romance readers who crave drama, trauma, and tears on the road to a happily-ever-after will devour this book.

The Past Is Red

Valente’s prose presents a stark image of humanity surviving climate ruin, corporate greed, and rich escapists. Tetley’s voice is engrossing, creating a read that will make readers think about our possible future.

Savage Bounty

Wallace presents another enthralling epic fantasy.

Seasons Between Us: Tales of Identities and Memories

This collection is at turns haunting, yearning, and hopeful. An excellent volume of varied voices, both familiar and new.

The Exiled Fleet

Dewes’s follow up to The Exiled Fleet keeps the action front and center, while presenting an expansive science fiction story that is both richly complex and accessible.

The Dating Dare

Though Lee tries to create chemistry between her leads, much of their banter falls flat. Tara’s growth at the book’s end feels forced and insincere, and Seth’s journey offers no surprises. Fans of the first book will likely enjoy this follow-up, but new readers may be disappointed with the lackluster story.

The Hellion’s Waltz

A good pick for fans of the series, who will recognize nods to past protagonists. It’s also an accessible starting place for those who like their romance with a side of textile arts or covert Georgian-era trade unionism.

A Duke in Time

The number of plotlines and side stories featured in this book threaten to overshadow the main romance, but great chemistry between the hero and heroine, coupled with some truly lovely scenes of friendship and support among women, make this series opener worth a read for hardcore historical romance fans.

To Sir, with Love

A first-tier purchase, especially for libraries where romantic comedies are popular.

Love, Chai, and Other Four-Letter Words

The plot is captivating, and readers will ride its ups, downs, twists, and turns with Kiran and Nash as they search for a happily-ever-after. Recommended for all collections.

Miss Lattimore’s Letter

Get ready to read well past bedtime with Allain’s (Mr. Malcolm’s List) classic Regency romance and its shrewd, funny heroine, who turns her talent for matchmaking into a match of her own. For all public libraries.

The View Was Exhausting

The froth and fun of a jet-setting romance of the rich and famous is grounded by the realities of racism and misogyny in a difficult, image-focused industry. Win’s choice between the career she loves and taking a chance on romance is treated with complexity, and readers who appreciate a serious approach to the genre standard of the fake relationship will enjoy that there are no easy answers for this paparazzi-hounded couple.

The Layover

Former flight attendant Waldon’s debut is a tale of learning to let go of the past to be open to whatever’s ahead. Although readers might be frustrated with Ava’s stubbornness, patience will yield the happy ending they expect.

Bonnie Jack

Mystery fans will enjoy the twists and turns of this engaging tale about what money can and can’t buy.

Anne-Marie the Beauty

Reza triumphantly creates a nuanced and powerful portrait of aging that will resonate with ambitious readers.

The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton

The novel unfortunately drifts into TV movie territory, but readers will root for Amy, who’s winningly drawn as a kind soul undeserving of heartbreak. For fans of sensitive, uplifting women’s fiction, with a little mystery.

Like Wind Against Rock

Kim’s second novel (after Chinhominey’s Secret) is a slow-moving but compelling intergenerational family drama set in a Korean American community in Southern California. Readers will root for Alice to emerge from a decades-long crisis of confidence and self-doubt to reach her full potential.

Mona at Sea

If this all sounds too painful to bear, it is, at times. It’s also caustically funny and revealing, as Mona stumbles into a new version of what her life could be. Fans of Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter and Sally Rooney’s novels will want to read this one.

The Brittanys

Ackerman’s debut deftly captures turmoil in the teenage mind as the desire to become an adult competes with the longing to stay a child. It can fall flat with random insertions of the adult perspective that interrupt the flow of scenes. Angst and insecurity abound in this decent first effort; for fans of coming-of-age stories.

The Collector’s Daughter

Consummate historical fiction writer Paul (Jackie and Maria) has crafted another binge-worthy novel that will enthrall readers.

Emily’s House

Fans of Marie Benedict and Kate Quinn will delight in this moving story that sheds light on the life of one of literature’s most influential, yet mysterious poets.

Chasing Shadows

Austin (If I Were You) delivers another stunning historical saga about ordinary people who face impossible odds, yet trust an extraordinary God. The compelling characters and moral dilemmas are a highlight; it’s similar to recent Christian fiction hits about WWII, including Sarah Sundin’s When Twilight Breaks and Cathy Gohlke’s The Medallion.

The Godmothers

Keeping track of the large multigenerational cast of characters can be confusing at times, but readers who enjoy immersing themselves in family drama and watching women’s friendships grow and change over time will be pleased. Recommended for readers who like feminist family sagas with a criminal twist.

The Vixen

Prose’s (Lovers at the Chameleon Club) exuberant, lighthearted novel immerses the reader in 1950s ambience, yet it’s full of winks and nods to the current political climate. Simon, our overheated narrator, pulls us along as he stumbles into Cold War intrigue, and we’re never sure which way the plot will turn until literally the last sentence. What a delightful read!


Tucker holds nothing back in this debut novel, describing addiction in unflinching terms, as well as human connection, vulnerability, and perseverance. The subject matter and descriptions in this book won’t be palatable to every reader, but those who finish this work won’t soon forget it.

A Distant Shore

It’s good to see Kingsbury stretching her literary muscles to address trafficking from a Christian perspective. Her loyal readers will appreciate that she takes care to write honestly without graphic imagery. For fans of Charles Martin’s The Water Keeper.

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

With lush details, a return to favorite characters, and emotional complexity, this story satisfies on every level.

Pack Up the Moon

The emotion is heavy in this tearjerker. Reading its dramatic and moving exploration of loss is like being lost on a cold, gray day, with no way home. Higgins’s easy-to-read prose and romanticizing tone make this a good match for fans of Nicholas Sparks.

Three Rooms

In Brexit-era Britain, a generation of privileged, well-educated young people find themselves underemployed and just scraping by. Hamya paints a cloudy picture of the future for this generation, in a thoughtful novel about the increasingly elusive dream of home ownership.

Girl in the Walls

Gnuse’s writing is certainly artful and bodes well for future efforts, but readers may be puzzled or even annoyed that the work leaves them empty-handed.


Butler’s award-winning talent as a storyteller (Little Faith) propels his characters on a heart-stopping, daring race with unexpected outcomes. Godspeed indeed.

The Seven Day Switch

Freaky Friday for the mom set, this novel by Harms (The Bright Side of Going Dark) is full of fun, relatable, and cringe-worthy moments, as each woman experiences life on the other side of the fence.

The Other Black Girl

Part The Devil Wears Prada, part Get Out, Harris’s debut is suspenseful, riveting, and darkly funny, with a chilling ending that speaks a devastating truth. The setup to a surprising twist is introduced so deftly that the revelation comes as a delight, pushing the boundaries of the genre.

Dust Off the Bones

Grounding this story in historical fact, Howarth (Only Killers and Thieves) quickly draws readers into a riveting, action-packed tale of life in Australia between 1890 and 1910. The violent scenes are sufficiently graphic to achieve the intended impact without being overdone. Descriptions of landscapes and characters are swiftly drawn but not superficial; strong women characters add to this engrossing tale.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

Readers will know by page two that sharp-tongued, funny, brave Lenni will break their heart, and that they’ll be all in for the ride. Rich for its cast of characters unique in their messiness, humanity, and kindness, debut author Cronin’s masterpiece won’t let go, long after the last page.

Rachel to the Rescue

Taking place before the 2020 election and ending during the pandemic, this political satire, with a millennial protagonist and endearing supporting cast, is funny and entertaining, with a happily-ever-after.

The Great Mistake

Give this entrancing story of an exceptional man to novel-reading fans of Erik Larson and those who enjoy a little mystery with their historical fiction.

After She Falls

Readers sensitive to violence or domestic abuse may want to pass (there’s also an early scene of animal abuse), but Christian fiction readers looking for a sports angle might enjoy this title.


Lefteri (The Beekeeper of Aleppo) describes income disparity, predatory employment agencies, the mistreatment of workers, and how those who have the duty to protect and defend often casually shrug off that responsibility. Her characters are compelling and sometimes infuriatingly mired in their own oblivion. Readers interested in social inequities, human relations, and social justice will find this a good read. Recommended.

Lizzie & Dante

Fans of emotional tearjerkers, of romance, or of authors Kristin Hannah and Elin Hilderbrand will not be able to put this down.

The Ghost Finders

This series opener will have a wide readership because of the authentic setting, well-drawn protagonists, and compelling but not overly terrifying mystery. It expertly pays homage to writers like Algernon Blackwood (originator of this kind of story) and to present-day works that explore the format, like Alma Katsu’s The Deep, or Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi’s “Stoker’s Wilde” series.

From the Neck Up

This beguiling and beautiful, yet undeniably unnerving collection, with its tales of the ordinary made strange, will captivate readers. It explores provocative and intriguing feelings similar to those in the short stories of Samanta Schweblin, Kelly Link, and Carmen Maria Machado.

Detransition, Baby

The buzz surrounding Peters’s novel is well-deserved. The further listeners get into the story, the more they’ll appreciate the complex characters struggling to define the concept of parenthood.

Castle Shade

Highly recommended for historical mystery fans who have followed the series, as well as readers looking for historical heroines with agency such as Maisie Dobbs, Bess Crawford, or Phryne Fisher.

Dream Girl

Lippman (Lady in the Lake) nods at Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock in this hair-raising tale, but makes it wholly hers and completely riveting. She conveys the horror of being housebound and reliant on strangers, as well as the fear of losing one’s mind. It’s a page-turning, plot-twisting masterpiece.

The Mystic’s Accomplice

Miley (“Roaring Twenties” series) returns to the jazz age in this mystery introducing a remarkable amateur sleuth, widow, and mother. It skillfully combines the tantalizing atmosphere of a speakeasy- and mob-filled Chicago, historical figures, and an intriguing mystery.

The Paris Library

This expertly interwoven story will be a sure hit with librarians and bibliophiles, but is also a great choice for history buffs and anyone who enjoys interconnected stories about love and friendship.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown

This final installment in the “Brown Sisters” trilogy is a treat and is sure to be popular.


This riveting tale about mob psychology and the political, religious, and social complexities of urban and rural Nigeria will captivate listeners. Highly recommended.

The Art of Betrayal

Like Jane K. Cleland’s “Josie Prescott” mysteries, this novel contains details of antiquities and history. Berry’s follow-up to A Dream of Death is a meaty, traditional mystery that combines British legend with a contemporary story of crime and betrayal.

The Final Girl Support Group

Hendrix presents yet another thought-provoking, fun, and chilling winner with perfect timing, as the slasher novel seems to be trending. A great choice for fans of Night of the Mannequins, by Stephen Graham Jones, or Clown in a Cornfield, by Adam Cesare, but also for readers who loved the darkly humorous but intense psychological suspense of My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

The Queen of the Cicadas

Castro delivers an unflinching, honest, raw, and thought-provoking horror tale that is both serious in its social commentary and fun to read. For fans of gruesome, vengeance-themed horror that is deeply tied to its place and the marginalized identities of its protagonists, such as The Only Good Indians, by Stephen Graham Jones, and Frankenstein in Baghdad, by Ahmed Saadawi.

The Killing Hills

Offutt (Country Dark; Kentucky Straight) has a reflective voice and a spare use of language. Hardin is an unforgettable character trapped between his army life and the “eye-for-an-eye” culture of rural Kentucky. Readers of James Anderson will appreciate this thoughtful mystery with a strong sense of place.

Dead Dead Girls

Debut author Afia’s historical series launch, while a little uneven in the writing and light on the suspense, is a character-driven mystery that will appeal to readers who enjoy Roaring Twenties mysteries such as Susanna Calkins’s “Speakeasy Murders” series.

Embassy Wife

Crouch does an excellent job of bringing her characters to life and conveying the beauty and challenges of life in Namibia through their eyes. Recommended for readers who enjoy armchair travel, well-drawn characters, twisty plots, and complex relationships.

Body Zoo

Like Emilee, the reader won’t know who to trust in this fast-paced, sometimes outrageous third “Sin City Investigations” novel. The complex characters, along with the voices of Bean, Emilee, and Calvin Ward, will keep readers turning the page.

Dead by Dawn

Readers of the series may appreciate the villain reveal, but those new to the books might feel slighted. A definite purchase where other series titles circulate; a pass for libraries that don’t already own previous installments.


In this twisty thriller, Betty’s first-person narration will keep readers on their toes. Recommended for fans of thrillers with unreliable narrators, and psychologically intense plots involving movies and filmmaking.

The Night Hawks

A strong addition to the series; recommended for readers who enjoy a mystery investigated by relatable characters.

Half Sick of Shadows

Sebastian’s adult debut is filled with historical leanings with a feminist twist. Themes of friendship, fate, and morally gray decisions made for greater good are at the forefront of this Arthurian retelling.

Touring the Word: Literary Fiction Previews, Dec. 2021. Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert


A Distant Grave

The second Maggie D’Arcy novel is as intricately plotted as The Mountains Wild. Clues from the past culminate in a tragic conclusion to this tense thriller.


The Last Commandment

Shepherd’s first novel reflects his years as a TV writer (The Equalizer; Miami Vice.) The fast-paced story and twisted villain will appeal to fans of crime dramas.

Bones of Hilo

Hawaiian history and culture and the state’s fight against development are this story’s critical elements, moreso than the mystery itself; there are maps to orient readers. Naomi Hirahara’s Iced in Paradise might also interest people reading for atmosphere.


Such a Quiet Place

Another successful mystery thriller from Miranda (The Last House Guest). The perfect suburban setting; the secretive, quirky neighbors; three unsolved murders; and an Agatha Christie vibe make this whodunit an excellent beach read.

The Upstairs House

Perfect for fans of women’s fiction who want a book that’ll keep them on the edge of their seats. It’s also a great recommendation for readers who like unreliable narrator thrillers and are looking for a shrewd, fresh take.


Second First Impressions

Fans of Thorne’s and readers who enjoy romantic comedies will find this book appealing.


Good Company

Sweeney’s smooth prose and Ireland’s suburb narration enliven this exploration of the precarity of love and friendship.


To Love and To Loathe

Despite the premise, this is a decidedly slow-burn romance, with much of the story spent on Diana plotting to throw party guest Lady Helen at Jeremy in an attempt at misdirection and to win a bet. The lovely moments between Diana and Jeremy as they explore their growing attraction do not stand up to the book’s troubling treatment of the character of Lady Helen.

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