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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.]

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.]
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.

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

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

Police Procedurals, Private Investigators, & Dogs |Mystery 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.]

Privilege

 Adkins takes on a complex subject just as it intersects with real events in our society. This thoughtful and engrossing novel will likely encourage genuine, heartfelt dialog among readers. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]

The Convert

Utterly spellbinding and brilliantly translated, this prize-worthy journey through time will pull readers in and won’t let go until the very last page. A great choice for discussion groups. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/19.]

PREMIUM

Here We Are

How did Evie White, the scrappy magician’s assistant and fiancée, end up with Jack Robbins, the small-time impresario, and where did Ronnie Deane go? The questions aren’t neatly wrapped up at the novel’s conclusion, but Swift’s (Mothering Sunday) beguiling tale makes the journey worthwhile. [See Prepub Alert, 11/4/19.]

PREMIUM

Master of Sorrows

Call’s debut, which kicks off the “Silent Gods” series, takes its time coming to a boil, but by the final act there is plenty of action and conflict. Readers of Mark Lawrence’s “Book of the Ancestor” trilogy or Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicle” will appreciate the depiction of a young conflicted hero coming of age in a fantastic school.
PREMIUM

Carved from Stone and Dream

Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone, but readers will enjoy the depth of the characters more if they read Where Oblivion Lives first. Recommended for fans of dark fantasy, supernatural beings interacting with humanity, and spy stories.
PREMIUM

Race the Sands

Durst’s latest delivers the same sweeping prose and lush worldbuilding as her “Renthia” series, with strong female protagonists and lively supporting characters. This compelling fantasy will please fans and engage new readers.
PREMIUM

Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins

In this follow-up to her popular debut, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, Swedish author Bivald weaves a charming tale that also examines serious issues and is populated with quirky yet eminently believable characters. For fans of literary small-town fiction including the works of Fredrik Backman and Elizabeth Strout. [See Prepub Alert, 7/1/19.]

Track Changes

Though gently told, this story has great depth and is broadly appealing, allowing readers to consider how the smallest actions, linked to the power of the written word, can adversely affect the future. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/19.]

PREMIUM

The Kissing Game

A first-tier purchase for all collections.

The Mountains Sing

Recalling Min Jin Lee and Lisa See, Nguyen displays a lush and captivating storyteller’s gift as she effortlessly transports readers to another world, leaving them wishing for more. This may be Nguyen’s first novel published here, but one can only hope it will not be the last. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/19.]

PREMIUM

Topics of Conversation

Popkey writes in a stream-of-consciousness style that gives her novel a dreamlike quality. Though readers must make the connections among the narrator’s many changes in location and situation, the result is finally thought provoking. Fine for general fiction audiences.

The Great Unknown

With its Victorian setting, elaborate plot, and score of quirky characters, this work is delightfully Dickensian yet maintains a modern sensibility. Kingman (Not Yet Drown’d) taps into an astounding breadth of knowledge, from stonemasonry and paleontology to Scottish history and politics, plus religion and metaphysics. Highly recommended.

PREMIUM

The Arrangement

A well-curated selection of sexy, short, captivating romances from big-name authors investigating the unexpected twists of arranged marriages.
PREMIUM

A SEAL Always Wins

Castillo’s sultry suspense keeps the pages turning as the broader mystery expands in this satisfying second series entry (after A SEAL Never Quits).
PREMIUM

The Freedom Artist

Like George Orwell and Margaret Atwood before him, the Booker Prize–winning Okri (The Famished Road) writes a passionate cri de coeur, a clarion call to activists everywhere to resist apathy and recognize that we are all on this beautiful globe together and that it is ours to lose.

PREMIUM

Seduce Me with Sapphires

Readers who delight in a couple that sparks as much fire outside as inside the bedroom will devour Feather’s newest Edwardian romance (after Tempt Me with Diamonds).
PREMIUM

The Worst Best Man

Sosa (Acting on Impulse) delivers a steamy and witty enemies-to-lovers romance. Lina and Max’s relationship grows against a rich background of Lina’s Afro-Latinx culture, and readers will enjoy the complex cast of side characters.
PREMIUM

Tyll

The nonlinear time line may puzzle, and readers unfamiliar with late 16th-century European politics may find many of the references confusing. In the end, this retelling of a famous German legend will work best for niche readers who appreciate a challenge, portrayals of feudal society reminiscent of Jim Crace’s excellent Harvest, or, Game of Thrones–style gore.

House of Trelawney

This modern-day Downton Abbey, full of family dysfunction and love, is just as addictive as the TV series. [See Prepub Alert, 8/12/19.]

Postscript

This is a novel for fans of Ahern’s first title or for readers wanting an uplifting book about the power of love. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
PREMIUM

The Words I Never Wrote

Settings of Berlin, Paris, and London, and the inclusion of historical figures such as Joseph Goebbels and Kim Philby, make this a solid book club selection. “Clara Vine” series author Thynne’s moving, often heartbreaking story of two English sisters on divergent paths is perfect for fans of Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, or any readers who can’t get enough of novels about women’s lives during Word War II.

Miss Austen

For readers who enjoy Austen’s novels and wish to know more about her life and for those seeking excellent English historical fiction.
PREMIUM

The Land Beneath Us

Sundin completes the “Sunrise at Normandy” trilogy (The Sea Before Us; The Sky Above Us) with the tale of the final Paxton brother, digging deep into why bad things to happen to good people against the backdrop of World War II and the biblical parable of the prodigal son and forgiveness. Libraries with the first two books will want to purchase.

Follow Me to Ground

In this exhilaratingly original work, lyrical prose gives voice to the strange and alluring Ada, whose spellbinding account alternates with the Cures’ testimonials. Seductive and finally horrific; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/19.]
PREMIUM

The Grace Kelly Dress

Janowitz’s (The Dinner Party) fun, frothy tale of women falling in love and dealing with family and tradition is tied up in the symbolism of an heirloom wedding dress that each bride tries to make her own. That iconic dress is a starring character as each woman finds her happiness. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]
PREMIUM

The Authenticity Project

Not only a charming story of strangers connecting in beguiling ways, this debut fiction by memoirist (The Sober Diaries) and blogger Pooley is a thoughtful meditation on authenticity in the age of self-promotion. Recommended for readers looking for a pick-me-up.
PREMIUM

Blue Flowers

One of Granta’s Best of Young Brazilian Writers, Saavedra has produced an intense, beautifully nuanced examination of obsessive love gone seriously wrong and the psychological roadblocks that stand in the way of healing, though an abrupt, ambiguous ending may unsettle some readers.
PREMIUM

Little Constructions

Readers looking for the logic of a linear plotline won’t find it here, but those who prefer their fiction edgy and their humor dark will take pleasure in the jivy rhythms of this unconventional early novel from the Booker Prize–winning Burns (Milkman).
PREMIUM

Mercy House

For readers looking for a passionate, if flawed, lead female character, Sister Evelyn delivers. Those interested in religious fiction will also appreciate a simple narrative tackling complex church events. Perfect for reading groups. [See Prepub Alert, 8/12/19.]
PREMIUM

Creatures

Van Meter’s first-person debut novel is driven by the natural world of tsunamis, earthquakes, heat, hail, and wildfires, always with an overarching presence of the sea creatures surrounding the island. A compelling coming-of-age tale.

Recipe for a Perfect Wife

Brown (The Life Lucy Knew) kills it; her latest is a winner so captivating that fans of modern and old-fashioned stories about women could easily read it in one day. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/19.]
PREMIUM

Wife After Wife

This story will resonate with readers, even those less familiar with British royal history. For fans of updated Jane Austen books, such as Soniah Kamal’s Unmarriageable and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible, and those who are ready to branch out.

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

Sights, smells, tastes, and a strong sense of injustice as well as unexpected acts of kindness all inform the novel’s complex structure. Its powerful insights into Turkey’s past and present challenges and the world today make it highly recommended.

PREMIUM

Imaginary Numbers

The ninth “InCryptid”novel is recommended for most collections. While not a good starting point for the series, it centers on series favorite Sarah and dives into a cryptid angle that fans have been waiting for with the Johrlac. Also included is the novella “Follow the Lady,” about Antinomy Price’s journey home after That Ain’t Witchcraft.
PREMIUM

The Queen’s Bargain

Bishop’s many fans will welcome this latest installment, but new readers should start with the first book of this high fantasy series to be fully immersed in the multilayered world- and character-building.
PREMIUM

The Glass Magician

Stevermer spends little time on worldbuilding, and the terms she employs may confuse readers. Characters are placed into intriguing situations but never seem to learn or grow. Fans would be better served with the YA novels of Anna Godbersen.
PREMIUM

Upright Women Wanted

Gailey sets this adventurous novella that twists a historical trope into a singular story in an alternate future Southwest populated with bandits, shoot-outs, and fierce queer people. Readers will root for these rowdy librarians.
PREMIUM

The Will and the Wilds

This slow-burn fantasy romance with one-of-a-kind worldbuilding is recommended for patient fans of fairy-tale retellings.
PREMIUM

A Queen in Hiding

While the worldbuilding is vast and the characters complex, the multiple points of view may cause some to get lost in this debut series opener. This is the first in a projected quartet that will publish through April 2020, giving readers hope for further action-filled plots and disparate story lines to come together.

Finna

Cipri (Homesick) hits all the right notes in this fantasy novella packed with action and emotion. Part horror, part humor, and all heart, the story uniquely showcases two queer protagonists dealing with their own emotional separation while also being forced to work together. Highly recommended.
PREMIUM

Knife Children

Bujold’s delightful prose delves once again into the Lakewalker world. While not submerged in high-action conflict, the thought-provoking plot is centered on character growth, family ties, and personal responsibility, and will appeal to readers interested in stories focused on these themes.

The City We Became

Jemisin (The Broken Earth) writes a harsh love story to one of America’s most famous places. As raw and vibrant as the city itself, the prose pushes the boundaries of fantasy and brings home what residents already know—their city is alive. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]
PREMIUM

The Last Day

Murray’s debut novel depicts a thrilling future dystopia. The science of the Slow and the political breakdown that follows are alarmingly realistic, and Hopper’s flight through London as she unravels what could be England’s greatest secret is a ride not to be missed.
PREMIUM

Heathcliff Redux and Other Stories

This short collection takes a respectable look at the ways we evade our own truths but doesn’t engage as deeply as its subjects merit. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/19.]
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