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Invisible Girl

Suspense fans will devour this twisted tale of intricately interwoven characters. The many turns will surprise and keep readers thinking long after they’ve finished.
PREMIUM

Finished Off in Fondant

There are few surprises in this second book in the series, following Cobblered to Death. Even the killer is obvious, with no sparks to the standard romantic triangle. The mystery’s appeal is solely for foodies who enjoy televised competitions.
PREMIUM

Fortune Favors the Dead

This is a fun whodunit for high schoolers up through adults. It’s easy to pick up and put down again, perfect for a cozy weekend read.
PREMIUM

The Lakehouse

Clifford’s (“Jay Porter” series) sixth stand-alone (after Occam’s Razor) captivates with pell-mell action, striking characters, and a tantalizingly complex plot, yet at times is also melodramatic with shifting perspectives, cliff-hanging chapter endings, and ultimately an enigmatic finish.
PREMIUM

A Big Fat Greek Murder

It’s a little much to have two out-of-control women, one a stalker, in the same book that is already stuffed with characters and some unnecessary side stories. Readers of the first in the series, Statue of Limitations, or fans of Collins’s “Flower Shop” mysteries, might find this of interest.

The Ninja’s Blade

Lily and the secondary characters are rich and complicated, and details about martial arts and Chinese culture add depth to the story. While it isn’t necessary to have read the previous book in the series to enjoy this one, readers won’t understand the extent of Lily’s emotional conflict without that context. This series continues to impress and should find a wide, appreciative audience.

Goodnight Beautiful

Along with a rip-roaring suspense plot, Molloy adds depth with critiques of gender conventions that causes readers to investigate the assumptions they bring to the text. She breathes new life into the unreliable narrator thriller genre in a book everyone will be talking about.

Romance Author Virginia Kantra on Why Your Story Matters | Librarians' Day, RWA 2020

The Solace of Bay Leaves

The character-driven mystery by the award-winning author of Death al Dente is darker than many cozies. Readers attracted to unusual settings and mature, introspective amateur sleuths will appreciate this intricately plotted story depicting the impact of murder on the family and community.
PREMIUM

Interference

Parks, better known for character-driven mysteries, ventures into Michael Crichton and Blake Crouch territory with a procedural thriller with an sf edge and a ton of heart that leads to an explosive (and emotional) finale. Even though Parks’s staccato writing style, where every sentence is a potential paragraph, takes some getting used to, this should satisfy a wide swath of readers.
PREMIUM

Hanging Falls

Crime fiction fans or readers who appreciate K-9 mysteries will easily catch on to the latest series entry (after Tracking Game). Readers who follow Mattie and Robo will be eager for the updated story line.
PREMIUM

The Silent Conspiracy

Shaw delivers a second action-packed installment in the “Jack Logan” series (after The Network). The characters are well drawn and the story amps up to a cliff-hanger ending that will satisfy most thriller lovers. This book will appeal to fans of puzzle-solving thrillers and catastrophe stories from authors such as Steve Berry, David Baldacci, and Robin Cook.
PREMIUM

Killer Kung Pao

Chien infuses the latest deftly crafted entry in her delectable “Noodle Shop” series (after Egg Drop Dead) with plenty of wry charm and dry wit, making this another tempting, too-good-to-miss treat for culinary cozy fans.
PREMIUM

Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons

The latest pastiche by the author of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Dust is a clever follow-up to The Hound of the Baskervilles. The language, characters, and pacing is accurate enough to satisfy even hard-core Holmes fans.
PREMIUM

A Pretty Deceit

Verity Kent plays a dangerous game of espionage in a story set just several weeks after Penny for Your Secrets. The ongoing story line involving Ardmore will intrigue series readers. Fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd will appreciate the psychological and social issues affecting the British after World War I
PREMIUM

Grave Secrets

James’s debut is a sometimes silly, often funny twist on the vampire romance genre. The delightfully written Toni is about the unlikeliest heroine one expects to encounter. Throw in a few zombies for good measure, and readers are left with a novel perfect for fans of Charlaine Harris and Gail Carriger.

The Once and Future Witches

Drawn from folklore and history, Harrow’s (The Ten Thousand Doors of January) lyrical prose immerses readers in a story of power and secrets that is not easily forgotten.
PREMIUM

An Unnatural Life

Wagner (The Green and Growing) delivers a work with a focus of a “what makes one human?” theme in an exciting novella that recalls Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Emily Devenport’s “Medusa Cycle” series.
PREMIUM

Nucleation

Unger’s (The Gophers of High Charity) video game credits are well matched to this space adventure. Dialog among rivals, teammates, and machine interfaces keeps the story moving quickly. Recommended for fans of technothrillers and those who appreciate a strong lead character navigating readers through the technical bits.
PREMIUM

The Bright and Breaking Sea

Neill’s (“Chicagoland Vampires” series) newest series start is a fantastical sea journey, filled with conflict on multiple levels. Entertaining for its fun, fast-paced action, political drama, and slow-burn romance. [See Prepub Alert, 4/29/20.]
PREMIUM

Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth

Newcomer Russell’s new high fantasy series launch is well written with a definite steampunk vibe and sword-and-sorcery appeal. Readers of alternate-world fantasy will find this a satisfying read and a good start for a new author who’s soon to have a loyal following.
PREMIUM

Who Wants To Marry a Duke

Olivia’s scientific gifts will draw in and delight fans of bluestocking romances, such as Tessa Dare’s A Week To Be Wicked, still this classic Regency series will be most appreciated if read in order.
PREMIUM

Blood of Zeus

With strong pacing, excellent chemistry between the leads, and a suspenseful cliff-hanger ending, Wild and Payne prove more than up to the daunting task of setting up a compelling story that will sustain over multiple books. This superb paranormal romance is sure to leave genre fans and admirers of the authors wanting more.
PREMIUM

Dark Song

This latest installment (following Dark Illusion) in an ongoing, beloved paranormal series features all the trademarks of classic Feehan; suspense, passion, and exceptional worldbuilding. A must-read for the author’s many fans.
PREMIUM

All Scot and Bothered

Byrne crafts a smoldering romance that combines an enticing, well-matched couple with an original storyline about the underbelly of Victorian society that keeps readers guessing. Fans will clamor to pick up the first in the series (How To Love a Duke in Ten Days) if they haven’t already.
PREMIUM

The Night Portrait: A Novel of World War II and da Vinci’s Italy

Morelli’s wonderfully intertwined, quiet tale set during unquiet times reveals truths about the human character and the will to survive. The well-balanced historical fiction on the plight of stolen artwork during World War II moves smoothly between the centuries, focusing on individuals and their own motivations, fears, and ambitions. The theme of survival appears often in the narrative, connected to both people and objects alike and creating another layer for readers to enjoy.
PREMIUM

Forsaken Island

Recommended as an excellent YA crossover, appealing to fans of the Christian genre, fantasy, romance, and adventure.
PREMIUM

Monstre. Vol. 1

The novel alternates time lines between those first days and the days three months later to pulse-pounding effect in this sprawling, violent, gory, and still somewhat hopeful first in what will be an epic series.

Her Night with the Duke

Quincy (“Rebellious Brides” series) delivers a steamy Regency fraught with family discord as well as societal and racial prejudices. This gripping series starter ultimately triumphs with an honorable hero and a spirited Anglo-Arab heroine who fights for acceptance and love on her own terms.
PREMIUM

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown

Some readers may be disappointed that the Chinese characters in the novel are not nearly as well developed as Dolly is and that the mission’s insistence that they give up their own culture to convert to Christianity is not questioned. However, many readers will find Dolly’s bravery and commitment to her faith inspirational, and Moore’s impressively detailed research makes this a good introduction to this often neglected chapter in American history.
PREMIUM

Jubilee

From its heart-pounding opening, poet Givhan’s second novel (after Trinity Sight) leads readers into the dark recesses of Bianca’s traumatic experiences and subsequent healing.

PREMIUM

The Blind Light

Unpredictable character arcs will keep readers wondering what will happen next, and the many tragedies and triumphs of each family evoke the same epic feel of generational change as Edna Ferber’s Giant.

PREMIUM

A Lover’s Discourse

This beautifully told and gently introspective story of a young couple touches upon a host of relatable topics, from cultural and generational differences to socioeconomical perceptions and relationship issues between genders. Readers will have much to ponder, and book groups especially will appreciate.

PREMIUM

Leave the World Behind

Highly recommended and perfectly timed for today’s uncertain world. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/2020.]

PREMIUM

Stillicide

Jones’s compressed, minimalist style heightens the effect of a precarious future for a world where climate chaos is deadly serious, creating an absorbing narrative for sophisticated readers.

PREMIUM

The Seventh Mansion

Meijer (Rag) does a creditable job of connecting the troubled psychology of a contemporary teen with the sometimes lurid accounts of the lives of saints, suggesting that the extremities of their respective devotions are similar. Not for everyone, but refreshingly bold and original.

PREMIUM

The Readers’ Room

For fans of book-centered novels such as Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry craving a slightly harder edge.

PREMIUM

The Invention of Sound

Combining straight narrative with excerpts from Blush’s manuscript, Oscarpocalypse Now, Palahniuk’s (Adjustment Day) novel undergirds the ordinary reality of movie production with a horror movie universe possessing curiously biblical overtones, a world where justice ultimately prevails

Out of Mesopotamia

Abdoh (Tehran at Twilight) explores the lives behind the war-torn headlines in a way that captures the full humanity of the participants. Channeling a bit of Tim O’Brien and a good deal of Joseph Heller, he has written the best novel to date on the Middle East’s ceaseless wars.

The Searcher

French’s second stand-alone novel (after The Witch Elm) is a slow-burn stunner that will keep readers turning the pages late into the night. Recommend to the author’s legions of fans, as well as those who enjoy crime fiction set in small towns like Julia Keller’s or Jane Harper’s novels.
PREMIUM

A Little Bit of Karma

Best-selling author Billingsley’s (More to Life) first foray into the romantic suspense genre is an absolute thrill ride. The plot builds slowly, but gains momentum the minute the Lovejoys go on the run. While there’s pulse-pounding action, the emphasis remains on the couple’s emotional development. Overall, an exciting entry from an author with legions of fans.

Nophek Gloss

Hansen’s marvelous debut is a fast-paced, action-filled ride through the multiverse, introducing a complex found family of gender- and neurodiverse characters.
PREMIUM

If the Boot Fits

Although her vindictive boss has damaged her confidence and belief in herself, Amanda is surrounded by supportive friends and a steady, sexy, and respectful love interest in Sam. The sexual tension and flirty banter between the two will have readers rooting them on and anticipating Dru’s comeuppance. Another winner from rising star Weatherspoon.
PREMIUM

Red Hot Texan

Garbera’s new series launch, a delectable spin-off of her “Dangerous Delaneys” stories, hits all the right notes: a cozy, hometown setting, a sweet romance with genuine yet flawed characters, and a mildly sensuous atmosphere. A solid choice for Jodi Thomas fans.

Jack

Robinson fans will be hungry for the next chapter in the Gilead saga, and the beauty and humanity of Robinson’s prose will win over new fans. Highly recommended.

Hench

Smart, witty, and at times bloody, this book will please comic book fans who wish to take a jab at the superhero tropes, as well as readers who enjoy dark humor with a bit of satire tossed into the mix.

Steampunk Cinderella, Enemies-to-Lovers, Regency Rakes, Elite Athletes, & More | Romance, August 2020

PREMIUM

Purple Lotus

This thoughtful, moving novel will appeal to readers who enjoy stories that explore the inner lives of women who are pushing against societal expectations.
PREMIUM

The Abstainer

This tightly wound historical tale is full of the grit and grime of industrial England that is bleeding Ireland dry and setting the stage for the rebellion of the next century. More a noir thriller than historical fiction, it is driven by a thirst for retribution and freedom. Highly recommended. [star worthy?]
PREMIUM

Northernmost

Geye does a fair job of narrating the tale in a woman’s voice, and his larger-than-life characters have skills—both mechanical and coping
PREMIUM

Summer

Set partly in the astonishing Coronavirus/George Floyd present and partly in the World War I era of Resistance France and prison-camp England, Smith’s latest is suffused with the warmth of a more hopeful future and brings her quartet to a satisfying conclusion.
PREMIUM

Payback

Award winner Gordon (Final Payments) stacks the deck a bit too much in Agnes’s favor, making her eminently likable and sympathetic, despite her undeniable privilege. Heidi/Quin is the clear villain. The moral dilemma could have been more evenhanded, although perhaps that would have undercut Gordon’s aim of indicting the glorification of meanness that has seeped into contemporary American culture.
PREMIUM

Committal

This darkly witty sf-esque debut from poet Cooper explores the bonds between children and parents, siblings, and humans and artificial intelligence. Readers will appreciate the fast-paced action of players trying both to annihilate and save the human race.

Via Negativa

Father Dan’s search for spiritual insight is told with self-effacing humor and deep reflection, offering readers much to contemplate about the human condition. A superb beginning for newcomer Hornsby.
PREMIUM

A Killing Frost

Now at Book 14 (after The Unkindest Tide), this popular series is definitely one to read, but newcomers will not be able to dive into this novel without the others. With exciting characters, heroic quests, and complicated family issues, Toby Daye is once again covered in blood and fighting for what is right.
PREMIUM

Scavenger

Dickie’s transformation from addict to totally logical “operative” is one of several implausible plot points. While the use of street vernacular in dialog is reasonable, its use in narrative, as well as overzealous use of italicized Spanish, makes the story difficult to understand. The characters are not fleshed out and the action, at times, is comical.

You Had Me at Hola

Daria follows up her RITA-winning debut, Take the Lead, with a sparkling celebrity romance full of telenovela drama and sizzling passion between the two leads. Glimpses into the high-stakes world of television production and snippets of scenes from Carmen in Charge add depth to the story, as does a diverse cast of supporting characters. Highly recommended.

Nightshade

McAfee delivers a spellbinding tale exploring the price artists, and especially female artists, must pay to achieve their ambitions, with issues of sexual politics, marriage, and children folded into the mix. Highly recommended and an exceptional choice for discussion groups.
PREMIUM

Back Bay Blues

The second installment of Colt’s 1980s-set series (after The Off-Islander) will lure fans of Robert Parker’s Spenser into the atmospheric Boston setting. A tight plot, great characterization, and sensitive topics make this a good addition to library collections.
PREMIUM

The Counterfeiter

This ambitious debut from first novelist Cone is suitable for readers seeking an escapist literary read with an intriguing twist.

The Latest from Tana French, Alix E. Harrow & Juan Felipe Herrera—plus 42 other exceptional titles

PREMIUM

Vampires of Portlandia

Those who enjoy the “Twilight” books or TV series “Grimm” may find this entertaining. Portland enthusiasts will also appreciate the references.
PREMIUM

Beneficence

With language poetic in its cadence and capable of seamlessly transporting our minds and emotions to another place and time, this accomplished debut will be welcomed by readers of authors such as Willa Cather, Alex Munro, Amy Tan, or Lisa See.
PREMIUM

The Glass House

Colin’s (To Capture What We Cannot Keep) lovely storytelling conveys the stark reality of women’s lives in the post-Victorian era. While vastly different in personality and temperament, Antonia and Cicely are similarly pigeonholed into roles not of their choosing, but the result of decisions made by the men in their lives. For fans of historical and women’s fiction.
PREMIUM

Out on the Ice

With closed-door sex and limited conflict, this is a quiet and cozy romance that also frequently acknowledges that homophobia and biphobia make that coziness hard-won. A solid first book from newcomer Farmer.
PREMIUM

Acsquidentally in Love

Launching the new “Sucker for Love Mysteries” series, Hiers (Cold Hard Cash) rolls worldbuilding mythology, delicious flirting, erotic scenes, and detective work into a breezy and sensual LGBTQ paranormal romance, marking a promising beginning to this new series.

Emerald Blaze

The phenomenal Andrews follows up Sapphire Flame with another satisfying entry in this popular series. Action, romance, intrigue, and tons of danger leave readers wanting more of the Baylors, more of the Primes. A required purchase for all romance collections.

All the Devils Are Here

The strengths of this latest procedural from the inimitable Penny will attract her longtime fans and also draw in new admirers. A deft touch with plotting, sensitive characterization, and the author’s warmth and humanity make this a must-have mystery, especially for collections owning the rest of series. [See Prepub Alert, 2/24/20.]
PREMIUM

The Kingdom

Nesbø ‘s slow-burn thriller is guaranteed to be in high demand. As the story unfolds, it builds in dread and depravity. The small-town atmosphere resembles a Peyton Place as envisioned in an unlikely collaboration between Raymond Chandler and Henrik Ibsen. The complex characters and twisting plot will keep readers turning the pages and eager to discuss. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/20.]
PREMIUM

The Doors of Eden

Meticulous and spectacular worldbuilding make this slow-building sf novel a truly fascinating read.
PREMIUM

Yellow Jessamine

Creating a macabre and sinister atmosphere in her horror/fantasy novella, Starling leaves details of the setting rather blurry. Suitable for readers of creepy Gothic tales.
PREMIUM

Sucker Punch

Blake’s 27th outing (after Serpentine) is a crafty murder mystery wrapped in plenty of fur and fury. Fans of the series will be pleased to see Anita Blake’s return. [See Prepub Alert, 2/12/20.]
PREMIUM

A Dance with Fate

Marillier’s (“Blackthorn and Grim” series) latest novel in the “Warrior Bards” series (after The Harp of Kings), set in a fantasy world inspired by mythic Ireland, is a brisk and engaging read with vivid characters and a satisfying conclusion that makes this work as a standalone. Recommended for fans of Katharine Kerr’s “Deverry” books or Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicles” series.
PREMIUM

Set My Heart to Five

Stephenson’s (Let Not the Waves of the Sea) novel will appeal to fans of Philip K. Dick or Isaac Asimov. Through frequent allusions to movies and novels, the story is also made accessible to almost anyone who enjoys romance, intrigue, or outsider tales.
PREMIUM

A Death Long Overdue

This follow-up to Read and Buried features a huge cast of librarians, and sometimes it’s difficult to keep everybody straight. Series fans will be excited to catch up with Lucy, her romantic partner, the mayor, and Lucy’s friends.
PREMIUM

The Killings at Kingfisher Hill

Hannah follows The Mystery of Three Quarters with a drawn-out story. Only Poirot’s fans and the author’s readers will appreciate this intricate, slow-moving book.
PREMIUM

The Invitation

The Big Chill meets the board game Clue in this British whodunit. Lies, secrets, and the wonderfully twisted murder game will have readers furiously turning the pages.
PREMIUM

A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom

Boyne’s (A Ladder to the Sky) latest novel ingeniously interrogates the historical and cultural roots of our present age
PREMIUM

She Gets That from Me

Wells (Still the One) sympathetically and accessibly presents many sides to matters of infertility, grief, and ways families are chosen. This tender story full of warmth and hope is perfect for fans of Sarah Jio.
PREMIUM

Nine

Dekker (“Seer” series) comes into her own with this thought-provoking companion to the Girl Behind the Red Rope, coauthored with her father Ted Dekker, exploring themes of good, evil, and the power of choice. Fans of thrillers by James Rollins, Ronie Kendig, or the “X-Men” comics series will relish this fast-paced story.

When No One Is Watching

This sizzling summer thriller starts on low and heats up fast. Smart, sexy, and surprising, this suspenseful novel revealing the underbelly of urban gentrification will keep readers reading late into the night. [See “Turn the Page: Editors’ Fall Picks,” LJ 8/20.]

Leap of Faith: 30 Works of Christian Fiction Across a Range of Genres | Collection Development

35 Standout Summer/Fall 2020 Debut Novels

Ties That Tether

Igharo’s debut beautifully depicts the tension between self-determination and the desire to live up to family expectations. Favorite tropes such as a secret baby and a love triangle are reimagined through clever and heart-warming storytelling. Readers will be rooting for Azere from the very first page. [See “A Full Fall,” p. 16 ff.]
PREMIUM

Simmer Down

Smith’s (Faker) cute, breezy, multicultural romance set in paradise is a solid purchase where contemporary romances are popular.
PREMIUM

No Offense

Cabot returns to the “Little Bridge Island” series with another engaging read (after No Judgment). Rom-com fans looking to extend the beach-reading season should find this their next go-to read.
PREMIUM

The Jackal

The latest expansion of Ward’s elaborate world builds on its own mythology while introducing new characters and revisiting old favorites. A must-read for fans of this long-running series, and an accessible jumping-on point for newcomers.
PREMIUM

Stick the Landing

McMurray’s return to the “Elite Athletes” series (after Here Comes the Flood) is a welcome one, with a sweet and sexy love story nestled among a solid sports tale. Although it would’ve paired perfectly with the Beijing Games, this remains a great book for summer and will have staying power in the buildup to the 2021 Olympic Games.
PREMIUM

Hairpin Curves

RITA award–winning author Winters (Playing Naughty) puts the focus on female friendships—and female love—in this feel-good, F/F road-trip romance that’s not too heavy and just the right amount of fun to recommend for a fun holiday or beach read.
PREMIUM

Without a Brew

The ongoing mystery of Sloan’s past is just one element in the follow-up to Beyond a Reasonable Stout. Readers who appreciate the community life in a tourist destination town or the appeal of a story with a craft beer background will enjoy this latest cozy with a strong supporting cast of characters.

Dead-End Detective

The lead characters, with their realistic flaws, kick off a well-developed mystery that isn’t quite as cozy as Flower’s “Amish Candy Shop” mysteries. The cast and two interesting cats will appeal to readers of Miranda James.
PREMIUM

Lucky Bones

This darkly humorous PI novel offers nonstop, violent action, and is perfect for readers who enjoy Donald Westlake’s quirky “Dortmunder” characters.

Next to Last Stand

After Depth of Winter and Land of Wolves, Johnson lightens the atmosphere in this complex, thought-provoking mystery that highlights art and Western history, emphasizing the contrast between Native accounts and white history. The author’s poetic turns of phrase, witty dialog, and one of the funniest, most memorable chase scenes in a novel combine to make this a winner.
PREMIUM

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

Halloween, humor, and Louisiana legends are the key to the award-winning author’s follow-up to Fatal Cajun Festival. Byron’s readers and fans of Jenn McKinlay’s humorous mysteries will appreciate this latest story that incorporates family and food.
PREMIUM

Her Final Words

Labuskes (Girls of Glass) offers an intense mystery with an excellent character in Lucy, who methodically uncovers layers of deceit while trusting no one. Some plot developments are too convenient, and a few questions are left unanswered, but there’s a great concluding twist.
PREMIUM

High as the Waters Rise

Award-winning German author Kampmann is a poet, and this first foray into fiction is a poet’s novel in the richness of its imagery and the exquisiteness of the language. It’s as if the protagonist were a modern Odysseus returning to a home he no longer has
PREMIUM

An Unfinished Story

Walker’s (“Red Mountain Chronicles”) attention-grabbing and surprising plot highlights the engaging characters in this tale of second chances. For fans of women’s fiction such as Nicholas Sparks’s and Kristin Hannah’s work.
PREMIUM

Eli’s Promise

Balson (The Girl from Berlin) has written on this subject with success, but this time, it doesn’t come off. [See Prepub Alert, 3/18/20.]
PREMIUM

Betty

In McDaniel’s telling, members of this hardscrabble family stride through their Ohio community like minor gods, leaving amazement in their wake. Highly recommended; a coming-of-age novel that is a treat for lovers of stylistic prose. [See Prepub Alert, 1/15/20.]

That Old CountryMusic: Stories

The multi-award-winning Barry (Night Boat to Tangier) dazzles with his word wizardry and the effortless grace of his perfect sentences. Highly recommended.
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