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New and Upcoming Releases with Starred Reviews:


By: Janika Oza

Booklist- Starred Review

Oza’s debut novel, a family saga spanning four continents and nearly a century, begins in 1898 when Pirbhai, a teenage boy in need of work, naively boards a ship to Africa and ends up as a railroad laborer for the British. With rich details about the plight of Indian migrants in Kenya and Uganda, Oza describes the coolies the British relied on, tradespeople in small towns, government servants in the hierarchical colonial society, and the growing social stability of the Indian diaspora community in East Africa in the early twentieth century. Then, as Pirbhai’s descendants are forced to leave Uganda, Oza captures the brutality of Idi Amin’s anti-Asian policies and the destruction of the social fabric of the country. As the family struggles to cope with the profound, long-term emotional impact of difficult choices made in times of war and upheaval, Oza dramatizes the intimate psychological repercussions of state actions on a global stage. From India to East Africa, England, and Toronto, Oza’s characters experience the heartbreak of departures and arrivals, communities lost and rebuilt. This striking epic combines powerful characters of different generations, compelling storytelling, dramatic settings and conflicts, and thoughtful explorations of displacement and belonging, family ties, citizenship, loyalty, loss, and resilience.

Grand Central Publishing: May 2, 2023; ISBN: 9781538724248, Hardcover


By: Farah Heron

Library Journal- Starred Review

Antisocial Jana has always been reserved except for that one time, five years ago, when she had an affair with Anil, which led to a baby. Currently she is interviewing for jobs, trying to maintain friendships, and juggling parenting. She decides to shed her aloof image when she serves as a bridesmaid during a destination wedding safari, only to encounter both Anil and perhaps her future boss, who are also in attendance. Now she must keep up her new fun image for two full weeks, but losing her icy edge means Anil and she get closer than ever. Can her heart survive him a second time? This next after Kamila Knows Best follows its antagonists while navigating a claustrophobic family vacation. Family dynamics are realistically and earnestly portrayed, and mixing them with career worries raises the stakes naturally. The characters deal with consequences of betrayal in a way that makes sense for parents who have complicated feelings for each other, and creating friendships is as much of the novel’s conclusion as the happily-ever-after.

VERDICT This satisfying second-chance romance offers a big-hearted, clear-eyed examination of parenting and rekindling of old flames.

Forever: May 2, 2023; ISBN: 9781538725450, Trade Paperback


By: Gareth Hanrahan

Booklist – Starred Review

Informed of a rising darkness that threatens Necrad, Aelfric returns there and is nearly killed by a witch elf. He is sent to the northern provinces to counsel Earl Duna and discovers that the witch elf, Ildorae, has infiltrated Castle Duna. Aelfric captures and interrogates her and learns that nothing is as it seems. When he encounters a being called Death who intends to destroy Necrad, Aelfric flees back to Necrad to inform the council. Aelfric leads the league army to the shores of Lake Bavduin for a parley that ends in disaster before he is saved by Ildorae. In the meantime, Aelfric’s sister searches for her son, who has run off. After several adventures she finds herself in Necrad, and Aelfric agrees to help her find her son. In the tradition of Tolkien and Eddings, with a richly detailed narrative, well-drawn characters, epic battles, and political and religious intrigues, Hanrahan’s outstanding first outing in the Lands of the Firstborn series will thrill fantasy readers—who will anxiously await the next book.

Orbit: May 2, 2023; ISBN: 9780316537155, Trade Paperback


By: Martyn Rady

Library Journal- Starred Review

This is an astonishing book that brings together more than 2,000 years of Central European history into a comprehensive and accessible narrative. From Paganism to Christianity, and from the Roman Empire to 20th-century communism, Central Europe contains volumes of divergent and competing events and ideas. Rady’s (Central European history, Univ. Coll. London; The Habsburgs) lifetime of scholarship is marshaled to encompass the arts, literature, religion, science, statecraft, and warfare of this region. While immersing readers in this strikingly independent and singular part of Europe, Rady simultaneously demonstrates how, through the lens of Central Europe, accepted clichés about Western Europe appear nonsensical and must be reimagined. The author makes the case that the history of Central Europe is indispensable to understanding current events on the continent today. Notes, primary sources, and extensive citations make this an authoritative scholarly account, but the author eschews the pitfalls of purely academic writing. Anecdotes, colorful stories and quotations, as well as the constant presence of Rady’s wise and engaging voice make this a rare book, equally suited to the realm of niche historical research and popular accounts of culture, history, and politics.

VERDICT This is an unparalleled resource for anyone concerned about the future of Europe and the history of its nations.

Basic Books: May 2, 2023; ISBN: 9781541619784, Hardcover

JOY IS MY JUSTICE : Reclaim What is Yours

By: Tanmeet Sethi. MD

Booklist – Starred Review

Joy is not the same as happiness, says Sethi, a Sikh American physician, activist, and meditation teacher. Nine months pregnant, she is devastated when her three-year-old son is diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Desperate for hope, Sethi begins a search for joy within herself. The joy she finds acknowledges deep feelings and past histories. It leads to power, connection, and belonging. It’s an act of resistance and justice. Sethi scatters “Take a Pause” breaks throughout, describing exercises, meditations, and journal prompts to help readers with their own search for joy. Though Sethi is frank, her memoir is filled with heartbreaking thoughts and images. In an attempt to learn from her young son’s journey, she seeks to change “Why me?” into “Why not me?,” to experience beauty and awe, and to open herself to gratitude. Sethi freely shares her setbacks, challenges, and breakdowns as well as her moments of joy as she moves toward pain rather than fleeing from it. She describes sessions where participants make breakthroughs by acknowledging their feelings and writing their own, new story. Sethi doesn’t claim the journey will be free of pain or effort, but her wise counsel, written so lovingly, will certainly help readers heal themselves as they face life challenges.

Hachette Go: May 2, 2023; ISBN: 9780306830037, Hardcover


By: Dr. Scott Lyons

Library Journal- Starred Review

If you polled a roomful of people to see if they knew anyone who experienced an addiction to drama, many hands would go up. Lyons, a clinical psychologist, suffered from a drama addiction, which he alleviated with various techniques. In searching for strategies and guidance the author found scant research and no programs that addressed drama addictions. Lyons notes that drama is often not wanted but is craved by those who create it. Drama addiction often affects both mental and physical health. In the book’s three sections Lyons describes drama addiction, explains its root causes, and provides approaches to healing from it. He mixes anecdotes of particular drama addicts with pertinent scholarship. Drama addiction is a complicated affliction that has various manifestations. Individuals who suffer from it often feel isolated or alone. Lyons aptly notes that social media and other contemporary modes of distractibility further exacerbate feelings of isolation that fuel drama addiction. An appendix offers excellent physical and meditative exercises to assist with coping and overcoming this condition.

VERDICT A helpful book that will assist individuals who struggle with drama addiction and/or are affected by drama addicts.

Hachette Go: May 2, 2023; ISBN: 9780306925832, Hardcover


By: Tim Mason

Booklist – Starred Review

Former Metropolitan Police Inspector Field revisits a life-changing case after an MP’s wife’s murder bears the signature of a killer Field thought he’d left in Crimea. Twelve years earlier, Field hunted a serial killer who stalked Florence Nightingale’s nurses in Scutari and left a rose embroidered cloth sewn over his victims’ mouths. Nightingale and Field’s future wife, Jane, survived, but Field solved the case only to his own satisfaction only after his suspect committed suicide. Now, in 1867 London, victims adorned with the rose-embroidered cloth are turning up, and Field must determine if he let the killer escape Scutari. It’s no easy task: Field is operating outside of the Met as a private detective, but his friend, Inspector Sam Llewellyn, helps bridge the gap. As Field connects the London victims to the volatile suffrage movement, the killer targets Field’s family and Nightingale. Mason crafts evocative settings in Crimea and London, deftly weaving in a remarkable number of period hallmarks (including appearances by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and John Stuart Mill). In Field (introduced in The Darwin Affair, 2019), readers will find a detective whose humility, unflinching observations, and pragmatic take on rules are bound to charm. Mason’s second Field thriller is a deep, gritty dive into Victorian London that’s perfect for fans of Alex Grecian’s Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad series and Caleb Carr’s The Alienist.

Algonquin: May 4, 2023; ISBN: 9781643750392 , Hardcover

★ IMPOSSIBLE PEOPLE : A Completely Average Recovery Story

By: Julia Wertz

Kirkus – Starred Review

Agraphic memoir about a cartoonist’s struggles with alcoholism, recovery, and romance.

Early on in the text, Wertz, the author of Tenements, Towers & Trash, notes that she had long been telling her doctor that she enjoyed a couple drinks every evening. It turns out she was drinking multiple bottles of wine daily. At the time, she felt like she couldn’t live without it, even though she was warned that she would not live long if she continued her habit. Though the subject matter is grim, Wertz’s light touch as a narrator and talent as an illustrator help the narrative avoid the down-and-out, hell-and-back pathos of so many recovery memoirs. The author was a functioning alcoholic, publishing productively and meeting deadlines, but there was not much except work and wine to fill her life. However, when she stopped drinking, at least for a while, it didn’t solve her problems. In some ways, life got messier, as she forced herself out of her comfortable isolation to meet people and try to find a romantic partner. When she inevitably relapsed, it was not the end of the world but more of a learning experience. She received support from her brother (also in recovery), close friends, and other alcoholics at meetings even as she tried to minimize residual trauma as merely “a relentless series of tedious misfortunes.” By any objective standard, her life improved—not only professionally (her work started to appear in the New Yorker and the New York Times), but personally as well. Refreshingly, none of this seems like a pat, cause-and-effect morality play. With her consistently engaging, well-wrought black-and-white cityscapes—native New Yorkers, in particular, will appreciate the fine details of the illustrations—Wertz captures the busyness of life, teeming with possibility, including a happy ending.

Her story may be “completely average,” but the way she tells and draws it is extraordinary.

Publishers Weekly – Starred Review

A cartoonist wrestles with sobriety in this forthright, wickedly funny graphic memoir by Wertz (Tenements, Towers, & Trash). While pursuing a career she loves and sharing a Brooklyn art studio with her buddies, Wertz attributes her regular solitary drinking to an introverted disposition. She figures she’s doing okay as long as she doesn’t start gulping before five p.m., even if her sporadic attempts to cold-turkey pause only last an afternoon. But after a health scare and a new kitten fail to impose hoped-for changes, Wertz turns to group therapy and a stay at a rehab facility. What follows is an episodic chronicle of small victories and defeats recounted in a breezily self-deprecating tone, as new habits and coping mechanisms collide with hurricanes, sketchy landlords, a rocky romance with a literal car-crash of a breakup, and the death of a friend. Wertz’s punch lines are as perfectly timed and indelicate as ever, and she’s augmented her trademark candor with probing insight. There are glimpses into Wertz’s childhood trauma, and one of the best supporting characters is her brother, Josh, who has his own addiction demons and whose unorthodox encouragement is a highlight. There’s depth to her panels, too, as the relaxed, lumpy character sketches are integrated into the confident architectural detail of cityscape backdrops. Unvarnished yet buoyant, this recovery memoir presents Wertz at her wry best and is sure to recruit new fans to her scrappy, irreverent diaries of the absurd.

Black Dog & Leventhal: May 9, 2023; ISBN: 9780762468256, Hardcover

UNEDUCATED: A Memoir of Flunking Out, Falling Apart, and Finding My Worth

By: Christopher Zara

Booklist – Starred Review

Zara (Tortured Artists, 2012) lifts a curtain on the American education system and its impact on his professional life, writing with painstaking clarity of every step he’s taken to get where he is. The result of this reflection is a powerful story paired with gorgeously crafted writing. Born into a middle-class New Jersey family, Zara’s story begins with his failure to finish high school in the 1990s and ends with him being a leading editor at Fast Company magazine. In between, we see Zara struggle with heroin addiction and come out the other side, feeling like we are walking alongside him on the slush-drenched streets of a New York City winter, heading to another deadend job. Zara’s memoir goes beyond the average story of personal adversity. Through it all, he matches each setback with a palpable sense of hope; readers can’t help but cheer for him, for example, when, working at Show Business Weekly, he takes the brunt of his boss’ angry outbursts and mood swings. It’s clear that Zara is meant for bigger things. More than anything, Zara writes a necessary and inspiring story about how we are more than our educational histories.

Little, Brown: May 16, 2023; ISBN: 9780316268974, Hardcover


By: Luis Alberto Urrea

Publishers Weekly – Starred Review

Urrea (The House of Broken Angels) transports readers to the Western Front of WWII in his stunning latest. Irene Woodward, a tough New Yorker, covers up the bruises received from her abusive fiancé with concealer and sweaters, throws her engagement ring down the drain, and joins America’s war effort as a member of the Red Cross Clubmobile. Tasked with high expectations—keep driving and keep smiling—Irene is sent to England alongside Dorothy Dunford, who, much like Irene, is looking for an escape from her life. The two become fast friends while serving coffee and doughnuts and trying to comfort the soldiers, a nebulous task defined in the chaste terms of the day (they should act like a “big sister, girl next door, mom or sweetheart”). As the U.S. efforts advance, Irene fears she has lost Dorothy, who’s become like a sister, after they are separated in an accident; eventually, she goes home to New York to rebuild a life marred with survivor’s guilt and shell shock. In a move that could feel contrived but only further elevates the work, Urrea bookends the wrenching narrative with a surprising discovery 50 years later. It’s a moving and graceful tribute to friendship and to heroic women who have shouldered the burdens of war.

Little Brown: May 30, 2023; ISBN: 9780316265850 , Hardcover

★ LOVE ACROSS BORDERS : Passports, Papers, and Romance in a Divided World

By: Anna Lekas Miller

Booklist – Starred Review

This eye-opening account brings personal stories to the forefront of the international refugee crisis. The book is framed around the experiences of investigative journalist Miller, who holds a U.S. passport, and her beloved, Salem, a displaced Syrian national with a passport limited to a steadily decreasing number of countries. The two met in Turkey in 2015 and fell in love while chasing down news stories. After Salem was banned from Turkey, their world shrank, beginning their years-long quest just to be together. The lovers’ story is actually just one part of this engaging narrative. Numerous accounts of other couples from various countries (Ukraine, Mexico, Honduras, Lebanon, Trinidad, Nigeria) are presented within histories of refugees and displaced individuals, passports and visas, boundaries and quotas, and the devastating effects these often arbitrary decisions have on couples and families. Not all the personal stories have
happy endings, and Miller reminds us that the cases for which outcomes are still pending are just representative microcosms of the devastating scenarios happening all over the world and being largely ignored by Western media. Sometimes heartwarming, sometimes excruciating, these
engrossing accounts are now documented by a woman who speaks for thousands of star-crossed lovers.

Algonquin: June 6, 2023; ISBN: 9781643752334, Hardcover


By: Dominic Lim

Booklist – Starred Review

Pianist and aspiring Broadway composer Quito Cruz would do anything for his dad. But asking superstar actor Emmett Aoki to perform in a charity concert organized by his dad in conjunction with his retirement as high-school choir director is out of the question. While Quito and Emmett were once the best of friends in high school, it has been 20 years since Quito spoke to Emmett on that fateful night in college that drove them apart. However, when Emmett unexpectedly turns up in New York City, Quito has the opportunity to ask him for this favor. But will their meeting break the ice that has frozen their friendship and help Quito rediscover his musical inspiration, or will it just reinforce Quito’s belief that the two of them never had a chance? With its incisively etched, marvelously inclusive cast of characters, perfectly polished writing lightly dusted with sly wit, and swoon-worthy sexual chemistry, Lim’s soul-nourishing debut not only perfectly captures the hope and heartbreak of two people falling in love, but also music’s power to transform lives.

Forever: June 6, 2023; ISBN: 9781538725382, Paperback

★ AND DON’T FUCK IT UP! : An Oral History of Rupaul’s Drag Race (The First Ten Years)

By: Maria Elena Fernandez / World of Wonder

Publisher’s Weekly – Starred Review

Journalist Fernandez’s fabulous debut serves the tea on RuPaul’s Drag Race, chronicling how the reality TV show went from “classic counterculture” to the mainstream in its first 10 seasons and offering gossipy stories from judges, contestants, producers, and RuPaul himself. In 2006, television producer Tom Campbell, inspired by the success of America’s Next Top Model, encouraged RuPaul to help him develop a drag competition show; three years later, RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered on Logo TV, and later moved to VH1 in 2017. Contestants provide juicy reflections on the show’s biggest moments, including the controversial decision to crown Tyra Sanchez over fan favorite Raven in season two, the rivalry between the Heathers and Boogers cliques in season three, and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo’s viral exit from season 10, when she continuously repeated “Miss Vanjie” to the bewilderment of everyone on set (“Even watching it, I’m like what was goin’ on?” she says of rewatching the scene). The behind-the-scenes stories feel as if readers are eavesdropping on the show’s “werkroom,” but this oral history really shines in its willingness to tackle weightier issues, as when RuPaul opines on the importance of queer representation and when performer Asia O’Hara reflects on dealing with racism from the show’s fandom. Hilarious and affecting, it’s an uproarious celebration of what has become a television institution.

Grand Central Publishing: June 6, 2023; ISBN: 9781538717660, Hardcover


By: Ann Leckie

Library Journal – Starred Review

The vast Imperial Radch is at war with itself after the events in Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy. Three individuals, all discarded or considered superfluous by their own societies, find themselves on a collision course with each other and with forces either wishing to shore up the fracturing power of the Radchaii or pry their galaxy-spanning hegemony even further apart. But the individuals they think they are using for their own political purposes (Enae the no-longer-needed caregiver; Qven the ruined translator; and Reet, whose parent fled Qven’s fate and whose humanity is now being legally questioned and psychologically assaulted) come together to fight the empire and secure freedom for themselves—and quite possibly for worlds beyond counting.

VERDICT Readers who enjoyed Arkady Martine’s “Teixcalaan” series will see fascinating similarities in this portrait of a rapacious empire as it begins to fall, while any SF reader who loves political skullduggery told through fascinating and empathetic characters will be captivated by Leckie’s latest foray into the Imperial Radch in all its complexity and corruption. Highly recommended.

Booklist – Starred Review

Leckie’s latest stand-alone is set in the same world as her Imperial Radch trilogy (Ancillary Justice, 2013) but focuses on human communities far outside Radchaai space and dives deeper into the mysterious Presger Translators. The novel starts as Enae (who uses gender-neutral hir pronouns) is thrust by hir domineering grandmother’s death into a career as a diplomatic officer. Hir first, somewhat make-work assignment is to find a Translator, one of the human-like emissaries of the mysterious and powerful Presger, who disappeared 200 years ago. Enae’s journey takes hir to to a segment of space shaped by a thousand years of colonialism, leading to an encounter with Reet Hluid, a young man troubled by mysterious dreams of aggression and transformation. Both Enae and Reet’s lives will become intertwined with Qven, a Presger Translator juvenile who rebels at their poorly understood fate, and with other players and factions throughout space. Leckie’s ability to seamlessly weave in alternate conceptions of gender, identity, and alien experience remains as strong as ever, as does the propulsive and exciting tenor of her prose. An excellent addition to Leckie’s already well-realized and often strange and
exciting universe, this new novel is accessible, and essential, to new readers and old fans alike.

Orbit: June 6, 2023; ISBN: 9780316289719, Hardcover


My 2,000 Mile Horseback Journey into the Old West

By: Will Grant

Booklist – Starred Review

Readers would be forgiven for thinking that journalist Grant’s 2,000-mile horseback tribute to the Pony Express sounds like a stunt—but they would also be wrong. The famously and historically quixotic project, which astonishingly delivered mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento in a
mere 10 days, was short-lived (April, 1860–October, 1861) and failed under its own weight. Here, the Pony Express becomes a sturdy framework for the Santa Fe-based author’s keen, unaffected, hard-earned observations on the horsemanship, history, topography, flora, fauna, economies, and personalities woven into today’s American West. Grant draws respectfully on the many authors before him who tried to make sense of the ever-evolving region, even as he encounters the modern-day farmers (both family and industrial-scale), cattlemen and -women, and sheep ranchers, among others, eking out a living on such unforgiving terrain. The stars here, though, are Grant’s two horses, Chicken Fry and Badger, who implacably take on the burden of this long, hot journey, and who serve as living reminders of the true horsepower that drove America’s western expansion.

Little Brown: June 6, 2023; ISBN: 9780316422314 , Hardcover

ALL THE GOLD STARS : Reimagining Ambition and the Ways we Strive

By: Rainesford Stauffer

Library Journal – Starred Review

Ambition: the cultural double-edged sword that has been baked into us since the very first gold-star sticker in childhood, deeply rooted in colonialism, capitalism, and ableism. Both praised and punished, gate-kept and judged, people strive to meet its requirements while battling burnout, at the cost of their mental health, and even when they know that in the end, it won’t love them back. Stauffer, Teen Vogue “Work in Progress” columnist and author of An Ordinary Age, explores the abstract concept of ambition and its sometimes depressing concrete effects on society and people’s lives. Drawing on literary, scientific, and anecdotal sources, this title is breathtakingly comprehensive and contains a lovely core of human empathy and gentle curiosity. Topics like race and gender discrimination are not ignored, and unlike so many other self-help books, this one avoids the pitfall of speaking only to the white, middle-class experience.

VERDICT Well-paired with other contemplative titles such as Katherine May’s Wintering and Casper ter Kuile’s The Power of Ritual, and an intriguing counterpoint to popular productivity-focused self-help titles such as James Clear’s Atomic Habits and Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism. An excellent, thoughtful, non-prescriptive treatise on a complicated idea.

Hachette Go: June 6, 2023; ISBN: 9780306830334, Hardcover


By: Alexander Darwin

Library Journal – Starred Review

DEBUT As a Scout, Murray Pearson hunts for new talent to serve as Grievars—knights who determine the fate of nations with their fists. He grapples with disillusionment until he discovers Cego, a young boy off the streets with a hazy past. Their feudal society is morphing into a high-tech dystopian world that Murray no longer recognizes, but in Cego he finds a boy who still embodies the Combat Codes, the spirit and honor of their people. As Murray risks himself to investigate the conspiracies of the Citadel and Cego’s mysterious origins, Cego endures the ruthlessly captivating combat academy. As the underdog and the washed-up, Cego and Murray are remarkable characters who stay true to the codes despite others’ perversion of them, and it’s impossible not to root for the pair. This is a perfect blend of fantasy, cyberpunk, and mixed martial arts that is enhanced by flawless action sequences and ideals that are still worth fighting for.

VERDICT With surprising depth and touching relationships, this debut packs a punch and sets up a fascinating foundation for the rest of the series. Great for fans of Will Wight.

Orbit: June 13, 2023; ISBN: 9780316493000, Trade Paperback


By: Elin Hilderbrand

Kirkus – Starred Review

A dreamy Nantucket house party given by a meticulous hostess goes off the rails.

“When Hollis posts a potato and white cheddar tart with a crispy bacon crust, her foodie community breaks the one-million-member milestone. (Leave it to bacon!)” And leave it to Hilderbrand, in her 30th book of Nantucket-based fiction, to cook up more literary bacon, this time focusing on female friendship, female “friendship,” and the power of the internet and social media. When Hollis Shaw’s doctor husband dies in a crash on the way to the airport, she steps back from Hungry With Hollis, her popular website. After moping around her house in “Swellesley” for a while, she returns to Nantucket for the summer, planning a kick-out-the-stops weekend party that will involve one girlfriend from each phase of her life—youth, college, motherhood—plus her favorite internet follower, an Atlanta-based airline pilot, whom she’s never actually met. Two of these old pals are definitely not as close to Hollis as they once were, one of them has done her secret harm, and Hollis dramatically increases the potential for trouble by paying her angry 20-something daughter to document the weekend on film. Add two bottles each of Casa Dragones tequila, Triple 8 vodka, and Veuve Clicquot, plus some Hendricks gin and Mount Gay rum—what could possibly go wrong? Known for gently inserting social commentary into her plots, Hilderbrand here highlights the ridiculous fickleness of cancel culture when one of the characters—Dru-Ann, an extremely successful Black sports agent—almost loses her clients, her job, and her boyfriend when a video clip of a private conversation in a restaurant is posted on social media. Everyone says there’s no way forward without a self-effacing apology. Dru-Ann says pass the Casa Dragones. Meanwhile, Hollis is about to learn that friendships forged on the internet are not always what they seem. Hilderbrand has announced plans to retire in 2024. Wait—that’s next year! No!

The people in her books may screw up, but Hilderbrand always gets it right. Kind of amazing.

Publisher’s Weekly – Starred Review

In this stunning, sun-drenched mix of romance and women’s fiction from bestseller Hilderbrand (The Hotel Nantucket), famous food blogger Hollis Shaw gathers one important woman from each decade of her life for an unforgettable girls’ trip to Nantucket. Reeling from her husband’s sudden death in a car accident, Hollis is trying to make sense of their marriage, which had been failing; cope with her teen daughter’s resentment; and figure out plans for her upended future when she stumbles across the idea for a “five-star weekend” online and sets about recruiting friends. Her best friend from childhood, Tatum, who still lives on Nantucket, is reluctant to renew their friendship, particularly when she knows that Hollis’s college roommate, Dru Ann, a high-powered sports agent whom she fought with at Hollis’s wedding, will be in attendance. Meanwhile, Hollis’s friend from her 30s, Brooke, always tries too hard to fit in, filling her with anxiety that colors her interactions with the other, seemingly more self-confident women. Hollis also invites an internet friend whom she connected with through her blog and has never met in person. Hilderbrand makes the most of gathering these big personalities in Hollis’s small, photograph-ready abode; as they navigate their differences, the women discover things about themselves—and may even find love along the way. This should become a beach bag staple.

Little Brown: June 13, 2023; ISBN: 9780316258777, Hardcover

THE THREE AGES OF WATER: Prehistoric Past, Imperiled Present, and a Hope for the Future

By: Peter Gleick

Booklist – Starred Review

Perhaps because it covers about 71 percent of the planet’s surface, we often take water for granted. Scientist Gleick buoyantly conveys just how special water is as a basic natural resource essential to survival, a predominant constituent of the human body (accounting for roughly 50–60 percent of an adult’s body weight), modeler of the environment, and major factor in human civilizations. He dives into our deep connection with water, blending history, science, technology, climatology, folklore, and policy. Early humans had an intimate relationship with water. The proximity to water fostered growth of societies and made agriculture possible. More recently, our association with water has been about control as we reroute or restrict it, engineer purification systems, design sewers for wastewater, and seek to eliminate waterborne infectious agents. Gleick foresees an optimistic future for water that emphasizes sustainability. He offers prudent policies ensuring the availability of safe water and adequate sanitation for all, addressing climate change, safeguarding the well-being of ecosystems, and reducing water waste. The menace of the bottled water industry, desalinating ocean water, how astronauts on the International Space Station reuse water, the dominant role of water in creation stories, and the origin of earth’s water are all explored. An invaluable introduction to hydrology with crucial recommendations for managing the world’s water.

Public Affairs: June 13, 2023; ISBN: 9781541702271, Hardcover


By: Laura Lee Guhrke

Booklist – Starred Review

When Max Shaw, the duke of Westbourne, breezes into Evie Harlow’s London bookshop and tries to convince her to let him give her a dazzling makeover as part of a wager he made, Evie politely shows him the door. But then the store’s boiler decides to go on the fritz, and Evie has no choice but to close up shop while it is repaired. Now taking advantage of Max’s offer to put her up at the Savoy as part of his Cinderella deal makes good sense, given Evie’s dearth of other temporary housing options. However, after six weeks living in Max’s world and undergoing his
promised makeover, will Evie be able to return to the quiet life of a bookseller? It has been a while since Guhrke’s last superbly written historical romance, but her latest artfully constructed literary confection is well worth the wait. George Bernard Shaw himself would appreciate
Guhrke’s clever riff on his classic, Pygmalion, not to mention her sprightly prose and sparkling, champagne-fizzy wit.

Forever: June 20, 2023; ISBN: 9781538722626, Paperback

SIMPLY TOMATO: 100 Recipes for Enjoying Your Favorite Ingredients All Year Long

By: Martha Holmberg

Booklist – Starred Review

Consider this the tomato Bible. Longtime food guru Holmberg, coauthor of the popular and award-winning Six Seasons (2017) and Grains for Every Season (2021), chops up tomato myths into digestible pieces, along the way educating readers on every part of the fruit. Can they be refrigerated? For three days max. Which varieties are okay to buy in a supermarket? Campari, kumatos, and a handful of others. Best brand of canned? San Marzano. The advice goes on and on. With eye-catching sidebars (e.g., best sauce to pasta ratios) and many ideas for variations, the 100 dishes will also turn tomato cooking/eating habits upside down. Fried green tomatoes are accompanied by three different mayonnaises, including triple lemon. Traditional gin and tonic becomes gin and tomato, thanks to tomato syrup. Tomato soup takes on three different personas: blended and smoky, chopped and fresh, or clear and intensely tomato. One particularly tempting recipe title: “My time-consuming-but-worth-it ratatouille.” Holmberg doesn’t promise her recipes are easy or quick to whip up; she includes pastries but omits desserts (cherry tomato clafoutis, anyone?). For tomato lovers, this is destined to be an all-season favorite.

Artisan: June 20, 2023; ISBN: 9781648290374, Hardcover


By: Heather Chavez

Library Journal – Starred Review

Two families collide unexpectedly in Chavez’s latest thriller (after Blood Will Tell) when there’s an attack on a college campus. Julia Bennett’s quick thinking saves her daughter’s life during the attack but leaves her wondering if it was random. Ren Petrovic is pregnant, but she and her husband are professional assassins, and his latest job could jeopardize everything they hold dear. His assignment puts Julia and her family directly in the path of destruction. The aftermath unravels secrets and forces Julia and Ren to confront their pasts and question how far they will go to save their respective families. Chavez plays with thriller conventions, and readers will find themselves rooting for characters with questionable moral codes. The main incident brings a timely quality and authenticity to the traumatic repercussions the characters face. The story is an intense, high-stakes thriller that also explores what it means to be a family and the lengths to which one will go in order to keep that dynamic intact and safe

VERDICT Fans of suburban thrillers or of Lisa Unger and Alex Finlay will want to read this one.

Booklist – Starred Review

It is move in day at Anderson Hughes College. When the gunshots begin in the courtyard, the first person to react is Julia Bennett, tackling her daughter, Cora, and saving her life. Others near them are not so lucky. Dealing with the aftermath through the lens of her own childhood trauma, Julia starts questioning the events of that day. Was the attack random? Did the shooter miss their intended target? Ren Petrovic is a trained assassin who believes in only eliminating the guilty. She is not responsible for the shooting at Anderson Hughes, but she knows who is: her husband, Nolan. Ren suspects Nolan isn’t being truthful about who hired him, and the more she digs, the more she understands the danger they’re in. Before She Finds Me is intricately plotted and wildly exciting. Despite the inherent rivalry between Julia and Ren, both women are similarly beguiling and flawed characters. The changes in points of view allow for backstory to be
revealed while still moving the pace along. Recommended for readers of the gritty, complex thrillers by Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Gillian Flynn.

Little Brown: June 27, 2023; ISBN: 9780316531351, Hardcover


By: Tom Rachman

Booklist – Starred Review

How does a novelist retire? Is there an organization one notifies? Anyone to arrange a cake and a gold watch? These are just some of the questions Dora Frenhofer ponders as she realizes her career as a midlist author is winding down. Nevertheless, she persists, maintaining a regular diary whose entries inspire flights of creativity. She recalls her eternally teenaged brother, Theo, long missing after an ill-fated trip to India. She contemplates her estranged daughter, Beck, a stand-up comedian of some notoriety out in LA. Most intoxicating, though, are the people whose paths tangentially intersect hers—a fellow author at a writer’s conference, a middle-aged delivery man, a friend suffering an unspeakable tragedy. That Dora views theirs lives as more captivating than hers, which seems to be dwindling, is sharpened by the fact that Dora is facing this crisis of confidence as the world is embarking on the pandemic lockdown. Rachman’s nuanced exploration of creativity’s staying power, a writer’s inherent desire for relevance, and the marketplace’s malleable definition of success unfolds with refined subtlety through interconnected tales. The characters arguably each deserve of a novel of their own, yet it is Dora’s story Rachman focuses on with admiration and just a hint of awe.

Little Brown: June 27, 2023; ISBN: 9780316552851, Hardcover


By: Amiee Gibbs

Booklist – Starred Review

In October 1887, the formidable illusionist Aurelius Ashe and his immensely popular Carnivale of Curiosities returns to the Athenaeum Theatre in Southwark, London, after a seven-year absence. Odilon Rose, a cruel, abusive man with too much money and power, needs access to Ashe’s particular otherworldly abilities while also wanting to prove that he can outwit him. Hiring criminals with past grudges to harass Ashe and his performers, including the star, Lucien the Lucifer, Odilon reopens old wounds that could destroy them all. First-time novelist Gibbs crafts a strong sense of time and place through descriptions of the physical world as well as the societal expectations for the rich and poor in Victorian England; she also deftly weaves threads of darkness into all the characters while portraying the Carnivale as a close-knit, found-family unit. Tension builds as the fragility of life is repeatedly tested, and dangerous lies unravel the ties binding lives together. Unique and emotionally engaging, Gibbs’ tale may appeal to fans of Mexican Gothic (2020) by Silvia Moreno-Garcia as well as readers enthralled by Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allan Poe.

Grand Central Publishing: July 11, 2023; ISBN: 9781538723937, Hardcover


By: Michael Koryta

Booklist – Starred Review

When Israel Pike is paroled from prison, he returns to the place he’s least welcome, tiny Salvation Point Island. After all, who would trust a man who killed his own father? Israel is driven to root out the evil that he’s seen there, backed by an informant deal he made with the state police. Unfortunately, that deal falls short when Israel discovers seven bodies, two of them rival Senate hopefuls, in an unmoored yacht. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Lyman seeks refuge from his father’s alcohol-fueled beatings and finds that a terrified, wounded, hatchet-wielding woman has occupied his hideout. Lyman doesn’t know where she came from, but he knows her fear too well, and vows to hide her from the “bad men.” Israel’s power-hungry uncle, the island’s only cop, tries to pin the yacht murders on him, and his deal with the state police turns out to be less bulletproof than he’d thought, forcing Israel to unmask the island’s trafficking ring sooner rather than later. Koryta, a regular on awards lists, rewards readers with his trademark shadowy mood and perfectly calibrated suspense in this stand-alone. They’ll also find haunting symbolism, expert character development, and realistically imperfect redemption arcs as the author plays the sea’s healing gifts and dangers against those of Salvation Point to make this Koryta’s best yet.

Little, Brown/Mulhollkand: July 25, 2023; ISBN: 9780316535946, Hardcover


By: Emma Donoghue

Booklist – Starred Review

Donoghue (Haven, 2022) pays homage to the nineteenth-century English diarist Anne Lister, known as “the first modern lesbian,” who set Donoghue’s writing life on course more than two decades ago. At the start of this novel of a forbidden love affair, Eliza Raine is older and basically decaying in an asylum for the mentally ill, hanging on to memories of her treasured girlhood. Donoghue spins back in time to when Eliza and Anne Lister meet and fall in love as boarding school students in York, England, in the early 1800s. A mixed-race orphaned heiress from India worried about her place in English society, Eliza had always colored within the lines. But
daredevil Lister urges her to look beyond the straitjacketed life they lead, and their love transforms Eliza even as Lister goes on to have many affairs. The beauty of Donoghue’s thoroughly researched novel rooted in Lister’s famous diary lies in the ways it explores how unequal the effects of love can be on two souls. “The present is a waiting-room with only one window, facing back, offering a fixed view of the past, like the inerasable lines of a woodcut,” Eliza mourns. It’s truly a tragedy when your life’s best moments are already in the rearview mirror.

HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Donoghue is always a hot-ticket author, but the origin story for this powerful tale will stir extra interest.

Little Brown: August 29, 2023; ISBN: 9780316564434, Hardcover


By: Ross Gay

Kirkus – Starred Review

In this follow-up to The Book of Delights, the esteemed poet catalogs more quiet pleasures and causes for gratitude.

Gay adheres to the same guidelines he followed in the previous volume: “write them daily, write them quickly, and write them by hand.” The first piece, of 81, opens, “Well, here we are again: this time, my forty-seventh birthday,” and describes a “bounty of delights” that he and his partner, Stephanie, have found in a rented Vermont cabin—e.g., the “forageable bounty” of apples. The following entry pays tribute to his friend Walt on his birthday: “I have needed to be—we need to be—believed in. Which, in a certain kind of way, is like being birthed. And just like his gummy bears and hockey sticks, I guess I’m taking Walt’s birthday. Because when Walt was born, so too was I.” The author offers steadfast company in his optimistic, accessible vignettes and insights about easily overlooked quotidian life. The essays are short, roughly three pages, and it’s a credit to Gay’s tone that he can captivate readers while writing about, for instance, “three truly beautiful spoons,” the pleasure of petting his cat, his annual garlic planting (“garlic’s your tiny professor of faith, your pungent don of gratitude”) and, in a separate piece, garlic harvesting. His sense of wonder at watching an NPR Tiny Desk Concert featuring El DeBarge leads him to this reflection on an Aretha Franklin cover: “She lets it be known, this is for the benefit of you who don’t believe.” Gay closes with an essay sharing the same name as the first, “My Birthday, Again,” in which the author writes, “I’ve completed another year of delights. Or maybe I should say another year of delights has completed me.”

Keenly observed and delivered with deftness, these essays are a testament to the artfulness of attention and everyday joy.

Algonquin Books: September 19, 2023; ISBN: 9781643753096, Hardcover

THE HUNGRY SEASON : A Journey of War, Love and Survival

By : Lisa M. Hamilton

Booklist – Starred Review

Award-winning journalist Hamilton crafts a radiant work of compelling portraiture in this deep exploration of one woman’s lifelong passion for farming despite the most trying of circumstances. From a wartime childhood in Laos to a Thai refugee camp, then immigration to the U.S., Ia Moua exhibits a nearly uncanny ability to survive and thrive. Her dedication to the cultivation of rice, whether in her beloved childhood village or the far less fertile soil of Fresno, California, is evident as she suffers through repeated trials often dictated by Hmong traditions that usually ignore if not oppose the ambitions of women. Ia’s turbulent relationship with her husband, the trials of her son and his distant fiancée, the loss of her parents, and the pressures from a far-away brother all fold
into a story about the significance and joy Laotian people traditionally find in rice. Hamilton spent hundreds of hours with her subject, and the result is a brilliant narrative that blends an intimate story into the larger cultural, political, and agricultural history of Laos and the Hmong people. Comparisons to Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers (2012) are certainly apt, and book clubs will quickly embrace the stark humanity in this unforgettable title.

Little, Brown: September 26, 2023; ISBN: 9780316415897 , Hardcover

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CUT FLOWERS : What Flowers to Buy, When to Buy Them, and How to Keep Them Alive Longer

By: Calvert Crary/ with Bruce Littlefield

Booklist – Starred Review

Crary is the executive director of FlowerSchool New York, and while some of his content is intended for aspiring professional florists, blossom enthusiasts of all stripes will find helpful advice and practical wisdom on almost every page. Introductory material covers care basics, from stripping extra foliage to angle cutting stems to desirable water temperatures (cold for tulips, hot for roses) to tips on pairing and designing arrangements. Next come 146 two-page, facing spreads on individual, popular florist flowers. Each spread includes a vivid, full-color photo along with standardized information: scientific name, popular names, physical description, conditioning tips (cut daffodils ooze a sap that is poisonous to other flowers; keep snapdragons away from ripe fruit and vegetables), and fascinating facts (baby’s breath includes a chemical that can break
down some cancers; sweet peas keep flies at bay). An index helps readers track down flowers with multiple names and includes helpful categories such as seasonal availability, poisonous blooms, and roses named after celebrities. Authoritative, accessible, and visually enticing, this is
a worthy offering from an expert who wants to let every blossom live out its “life cycle with dignity.” Expect lots of interest.

Running Press: October 24, 2023; ISBN: 9780762483280, Paperback