Can’t and Won’t

June 12th, 2014

Can’t and Won’t (Stories) by Lydia Davis

It has been a long time since I’ve read short stories this quirky.  Lydia Davis knows how to turn the genre on its head.  Short?  You haven’t seen short until you’ve read, for example, “Bloomington,” one of the selections in this collection:  “Now that I have been here for a little while, I can say with confidence that I have never been here before.”  And that isn’t even the shortest of stories.  While not all of Davis’s stories are this strikingly terse, as many fit more closely what we think of as a story, the briefer ones are what challenge us to consider just what a story is.  Does it need to embrace the classic Aristotelian structure of beginning, middle, and end to be a story?  Could a handful of words force us to consider that “story” could be an impression or a glimpse that is complete in and of itself?  Or could a story be a series of sentences, brief and poignant, that don’t so much complete our reading experience as urge us to long for more?

Some of Davis’s stories are drawn from the letters of Gustave Flaubert; others are dreams; still others are letters that strike us as real compositions sent to various institutions or companies, mostly in the form of complaints or genuine queries.  Imagine being on the receiving end of one of these letters.  Would the receiver even begin to understand the genius or humor behind them?  Still other stories are more like lists of thoughts and ideas, thematically linked.  All, even the longer stories, feel experimental and iconoclastic.  So for a collection of stories that may lead you outside the zone of “safe” story into “daring,” try some of Davis’s fare for a literary meal of delight.

D. L. S.

Book to TV – The Strain

June 11th, 2014

The Strain, the 10-episode TV series based on the vampire novel trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, is coming to the FX Network in July.  Click here for the exclusive preview.

The books in the trilogy are:

The Strain.

“A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city – a city that includes his wife and son – before it is too late.  (HarperCollins)

The Fall.

The war continues…

 

 

 

The Night Eternal.

The Night Eternal begins where The Strain and The Fall left off: with the last remnants of humankind enslaved by the vampire masters in a world forever shrouded by nuclear winter. Still, a small band of the living fights on in the shadows, in the final book of the ingenious dark fantasy trilogy that Newsweek says is, “good enough to make us break that vow to swear off vampire stories.”

 

Editor

Teen Books with Adult Appeal

June 9th, 2014

The secret is out: Books for teens can be great reads for anyone, even readers over 30. Gathered here are new titles that span genres for readers of every stripe.

Panic by Lauren Oliver.

“Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. Heather never thought she would compete in panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.” (HarperCollins)

Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski.

“An aristocratic girl who is a member of a warmongering and enslaving empire purchases a slave, an act that sets in motion a rebellion that might overthrow her world as well as her heart.”

 

 

Never Ending by Martyn Bedford.

“Traumatized by grief and guilt after her younger brother dies during a family vacation, fifteen-year-old Shiv is sent away to an exclusive clinic that claims to “cure” people like her.”

 

 

Guy in Real Life by Steven Brezenoff.

“From the acclaimed author of Brooklyn, Burning comes Guy in Real Life, an achingly real and profoundly moving love story in the vein of Rainbow Rowell and John Green, about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don’t.

This is a story of the roles we all play—at school, at home, online, and with our friends—and the one person who might be able to show us who we are underneath it all.” (HarperCollins)

She is not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick.

“Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers–a skill at which she’s remarkably talented. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.”  (McMillan Palgrave)

Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn.

“As the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile—but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her.

Fans of Bitterblue and Seraphina will be captured by a Creature of Moonlight, with its richly layered storytelling and the powerful choices its strong heroine must make.” (Houghton)

Editor

Book to TV – The Leftovers

June 6th, 2014

The HBO series, The Leftovers, based on Tom Perrotta’s novel and starring Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler, Christopher Eccleston, Amy Brenneman, Michael Gaston and Ann Dowd, premieres June 29. Click here for a trailer.

Find the book in the catalog.  This is what it says about the book:

“What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?

That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.

Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin’s own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne. Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.”

Editor

Maya Angelou’s Memorial Service to Be Livestreamed

June 5th, 2014

A memorial service this Saturday, June 7, at 10 a.m. for poet, memoirist and activist Maya Angelou, who died May 28, will be livestreamed from the Wait Chapel of Wake Forest University, where she had been the Reynolds Professor of American Studies since 1982. “Due to limited seating capacity, the family has decided to have a closed service for family and friends only,” with a livestream feed for the public, the university said. Angelou’s family is planning additional celebrations of her life in other cities across the country.

Thursday, May 29,  I heard a rebroadcast of the NPR Diane Rehme Show featuring a conversation with Maya Angelou about her memoir, Mom & Me & Mom (Find this book in our catalog).  Angelou achieved fame with her 1969 memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” about growing up poor and black in the South. Her autobiographical writing established her as a leading voice for women and African Americans.

Mom & Me & Mom was published in 2013.  This is what it says in our catalog:

“The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.

For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights.”

You may read an excerpt of the book in our catalog.

Editor

Ben Franklin Awards

June 4th, 2014

The Independent Book Publishers Association presented the Ben Franklin Awards at a gala ceremony May 28 in New York City. For a

complete list of Gold and Silver winners, click here.

Editor

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

June 4th, 2014

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?:  A Memoir,  by Roz Chast

It can’t be easy, bringing up that dreaded subject with one’s aged parents, the conversation we don’t want to have but know we must have at some point or other.  You know the one:  Isn’t it time to move to a place where people will watch out for you?  How do you want to handle your end-of-life issues?  Do you want to talk about granting power of attorney?  Do you think it’s time to get rid of some of this stuff?  You can phrase it gently or bluntly, but no matter, your parents probably want to discuss these issues less than you do.

Roz Chast as an only child has a particularly formidable task ahead of her, as she deals with her increasingly frail elderly parents, they living in one city, she in another.  Best known perhaps as a staff cartoonist for the New Yorker, Chast writes with a self-deprecating humor that is not just refreshing but also a means to lessen the pain of what she experiences. She shares her experiences with us in the form she knows best – the cartoon.  Through the graphic novel format, along with hand-written text and some photography, Chast guides us through the complicated, stressful, daunting task before her, with wit, grace, and, believe it or not, a lot of laughs.  Well, if we’re laughing, we’re not crying, right?

Her parents, Elizabeth and George, did not have it easy as young children, being descendants of penniless, persecuted immigrants, but their adult lives were firmly in the middle class in Brooklyn, New York, where they raised their one child, Roz. Chast briefly shows us her childhood but uses the bulk of the book to take us on another kind of life journey, the one where she discovers that her gentle father and overbearing mother are getting older and more vulnerable to the frailties of old age.  It begins with the presence of grime.  That to her is the first sign that the once-meticulous apartment is now the home of two older folks who just aren’t seeing things or caring about things the way they used to see and care.  Here Chast confronts her first conundrum.  What should she do about this new state of affairs?  Clean up after her parents, who clearly are horrified by this effort?  Ignore it? The issue becomes more complicated as their health begins to decline in subtle and obvious ways.  From poor health to worse health, from living independently to living in a nursing home, from being an autonomous human to being helpless and sick, Chast’s parents go through it all.  Again, with humor and wit, Chast takes us along for the cruel and sad ride, and we find laughter at what is otherwise truly distressing.  But if you go through this yourself with your own parents, you will find Chast refreshing and on target, not depressing or disrespectful of her parents.

We all know how this story ends – the same way this kind of story in real life always ends, with the older folks leaving, and I don’t mean going to Atlantic City for the weekend.  Even so, Roz Chast helps us along by sharing her experiences in this ordeal and letting us know that at the end of it all, you can still have your parents with you in a way, although I’m not sure I’d want my parents’ ashes in a closet in my bedroom.  Still, it seems to fit in with the scheme of things in the life of Roz Chast and her folks.

D. L. S.

Jen’s Jewels with Adrianne Lee

June 2nd, 2014

If you are looking for a fun summer read, I highly recommend the popular Big Sky Pie series by Adrianne Lee. Recently, I had the chance to catch up with this prolific author to talk about her fourth book in the series, Decadent. This latest e-book release will be available for download starting on June 3.

As part of my interview, Hachette Book Group has generously donated five e-books for my trivia contest. (Winners will be randomly drawn. Offer void where prohibited.) Be sure to keep up-to-date on all the latest news in the publishing business by stopping by www.jennifervido.com, following me on Facebook jennifervido.com, or on Twitter and Pinterest @JenniferVido. And as always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewels the ultimate source for news on the web for today’s hottest authors.

Jen: As a multi-published author, your personal journey to publication is a story in itself. So that my readers may catch a glimpse into the life of the woman behind the words, please briefly share with us your educational and professional background.

Adrianne: I took a half semester of fiction writing my senior year in high school, and two decades later, I enrolled in a junior college writing class. It was in this class that I met three other writers who were all writing romance novels. After taking the same class four times, we outgrew it and formed a critique group, meeting every week for many years. I started out writing mysteries, but thanks to my critique group, veered into romantic suspense. I’ve sold 2 romantic suspense novels to Kensington, then 14 Intrigues to Harlequin, and 1 novella to St. Martin’s Press. I’ve published 1 original e-book—the first in my Jack B Smart mystery series—and 2 previous titles as e-books with plans to put out 4 more back titles. Currently, I’ve just finished writing 4 Big Sky Pie books.

Jen: Please describe for us your "Aha!" moment when you decided to take the plunge and pursue a career as a writer.

Adrianne: My daughters were all in their teens when I decided to take that writing class I mentioned above. I’d always loved books and writing, but my high school experience hadn’t ended well and I put ideas of writing my own stories on a back burner. But once I began the class, I felt such a connection with all of those other writers, it was like finding "my people." So of course, I was hooked. I started out thinking to publish some short stories for Ellery Queen or Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazines. I soon discovered, however, that I don’t write short stories. I always have too much plot. I kept writing and submitting and learning the craft and eventually an editor called and bought that first book.

Jen: In terms of nuts and bolts, approximately how long does it take for you to complete a novel? And, what is the most challenging part of the process?

Adrianne: Plotting is the most challenging part for me because I like solid conflicts and a plot that I would want to buy if I were not writing the story. Once I know the conflicts and have a strong idea of the story, and a general overview of the plot, I can write it sort of fast. I’m really slow, though, compared to most. I’d like 4 to 5 months to write each book, lots of time to think about each scene and motivation. But I’ve been writing the Big Sky Pie books in about 3 1/2 months. My editor wanted them quicker, but she’s been patient and understanding about my process.

Jen: Your latest release Decadent is the fourth book in the Big Sky Pie Novel series. For those readers not familiar with the previous titles, what is the premise of the series?

Adrianne: The Big Sky Pie books are about going after your dreams. Molly McCoy has always wanted to own a pie shop. After losing her husband of many years, she realizes life is short, and if she doesn’t make this dream a reality now, she never will. But before she can launch Big Sky Pie, she has a serious heart attack, and must rely on her irresponsible, grieving son and his soon-to-be-ex-wife to follow through in her stead. The books feature the pie shop going through its launch, its floundering early days, a few great successes and a few failures. Of course, each book offers a love story or two via the pie shop personnel. Plus yummy pies and sexy guys!

Jen: Please give us a sneak peek behind Wade and Roxy’s story in your fabulous summer read, Decadent.

Adrianne: Wade Reynolds, a widower of four years is buttoned tighter than the fly of his favorite jeans. Shy, inexperienced, married young, he doesn’t date now for fear of embarrassing himself. Chef Roxy Nash is fresh from a divorce that cost her the restaurant she loved and her self-confidence with men. She doesn’t want a romance, just affirmation that she’s still attractive to the opposite sex. When she realizes that Wade wants more, a lifetime more, she determines to ignore the irresistible tug she feels for him. But his kisses make her feel as decadent as her chocolate meringue pie. All she has to do is figure out some way to have her pie and eat it, too.

Jen: As you were writing the book, did you feel a certain connection to one of the characters?

Adrianne: Actually, just the opposite, at first. I had trouble connecting with Roxy. My original plan was that she would be brash, a "take no prisoners" kind of sexy minx who was determined to seduce uber-shy Wade. But as I was writing, I realized that Roxy wouldn’t be a heroine readers could relate to. She sounded like a predator. But Roxy wasn’t that. She was coming home to Kalispell feeling vulnerable. Once I switched that around, I really connected with her, and she paid me back for taking so long to figure her out by bringing her naughty cat, Tallulah, into the story.

Jen: Let’s switch gears now and talk about your promotional plans. Please take us on a brief tour of your website highlighting points of interest.

Adrianne: My website is https//www.adriannelee.com. I post book release information there. It lists my backlist books and the current books. I will be posting upcoming blog tours, speaking engagements, etc. soon. The site had a facelift this past winter, and it still needs some tweaking. I’m doing some blog tours right now, and I have an upcoming speaking engagement at a local readers group, neither of which is posted at the website yet.

Jen: Are you present in social media? And, what is the best way for my readers to keep abreast of your latest news?

Adrianne: I am on Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads. Twitter: @akaAdrianneLee FaceBook: https//facebook.com/adriannelee.author I post on twitter and FB several times a day.

Jen: Are you currently at work on your next book? If so, what may you share with us?
Adrianne: I’m just starting a new romantic/mystery series. The stories will all be set in the small town of Weddingville—where they sell all things wedding related. It’s a wedding planner’s dream. A WEDDING TO DIE FOR is the first book. It introduces readers to family who owns Blessing’s Bridal. The stories are told in the POV of Daryl Anne Blessing, and will have all the fun and complications associated with finding true love and getting married. Of course there will be a mystery of some sort, including murder, to solve along the way. Daryl Anne’s best friend, Meg Reilly, is getting married in the first book. . .or is she?

Jen: When you take a break from writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

Adrianne: Writing is such a lonely profession that what I most love to do with my free time is have lunch with writer friends to laugh and discuss our books and the industry. My husband is into hotrods and we often go on runs during the summer in our ’50 Studebaker pickup. And I play with my two adopted cats, Spooky and Fuzzy Wuzzy, who are at that getting acquainted stage. So far that isn’t going well. Spooky is not liking the new interloper. We’re hoping that will change at some point.

Jen: Are you involved in any charitable causes that have influenced you in a personal or professional way?

Adrianne: I can’t say that I’m actively involved in any charitable causes per se, but losing our oldest daughter in 2009 to cervical cancer—that was detected too late—is something I try to tell people about in order to keep this from happening to someone they love. This is a cancer that is not familial. It can occur in any woman at any age. A pap smear will find it early and when caught early it can be stopped in its tracks and vanquished. Since losing Kim, I find I write more lightness into my stories. The darkness of that real life battle makes me long for something to smile about. Kim wanted me to keep writing and when the writing seems tough, I remember that.

Jen: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with my readers. Best of luck in all of your future projects! Happy summer!

Adrianne: Jen, I’m so honored to have this opportunity to chat with you and your readers. Thank you so much. Wishing you and your readers a summer of fun, sun, and great books!

I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Adrianne Lee. Please stop by your favorite online retailer or local library branch and download a copy of Decadent today. Better yet, how would you like to win a free e-book instead? Okay, send me an email at jensjewels@gmail.com with the correct answer to the following trivia question and you’ll be entered into the contest. Good luck! (Offer void where prohibited.)
What is the name of the town in Adrianne’s upcoming release A WEDDING TO DIE FOR?
Later this month, I will be bringing to you my interview with Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Matchmaker. You won’t want to miss it.

Books to Movies – Masterpiece Book & Film Club

June 2nd, 2014

Masterpiece, the television institution on PBS, has a great website that tells you everything you want to know about Masterpiece and upcoming Masterpiece shows.  You can watch shows online, check the schedule, learn about the background to the shows, and even shop.

Perhaps most interesting to those who love both to read and watch movies is the MASTERPIECE Book & Film Club feature.  Click here to find out how to host and run a book and film club.  This is what it says:

“You love to read and watch movies. Why not combine your passion for both with a MASTERPIECE Book & Film Club? Gather with friends — in a library, at home, in a café — to talk about books, films, costumes, actors, and more.

A MASTERPIECE Book & Film Club combines the appeal of a book club with the opportunity be a film critic. It’s also a great way to get to know people in a new town or to meet like-minded people. Best of all, it’s fun!

We have provided all the tools you need for your Book & Film Club, including the Book and Film Club Handbook (PDF), plus guides with discussion questions, background info, activities, and even recipes. (If you’re an educator, don’t forget to check out over 30 MASTERPIECE Teacher’s Guides.)”

There are nearly thirty Book & Film Club Guides, organized by author or title. Some guides include several works by an author. You can download the PDFs and find related links from the Masterpiece archive.

Even if you don’t start a regular book and movie club, there are plenty of ideas here to enhance a single book discussion. Choose one of the classics behind a Masterpiece mini series, such as He Knew He Was Right, or the the books behind a series such as the Wallender mysteries.  Happy reading!

Editor

Library Reads Top 10 for June

May 30th, 2014

Click on a title to go straight to our catalog.

Elizabeth is Missing: a novel by Emma Healey.

“In this darkly riveting debut novel, a sophisticated psychological mystery, one woman will stop at nothing to find her best friend, who seems to have gone missing. . . .

Despite Maud’s growing anxiety about Elizabeth’s welfare, no one takes her concerns seriously—not her frustrated daughter, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son—because Maud suffers from dementia. But even as her memory disintegrates and she becomes increasingly dependent on the trail of handwritten notes she leaves for herself in her pockets and around her house, Maud cannot forget her best friend. Armed with only an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth—no matter what it takes.

As this singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present, the clues she uncovers lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: that of her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II. As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more than fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud’s search for Elizabeth develops a frantic momentum. Whom can she trust? Can she trust herself?

A page-turning novel of suspense, Elizabeth Is Missing also hauntingly reminds us that we are all at the mercy of our memory. Always compelling, often poignant, and at times even blackly witty, this is an absolutely unforgettable novel.”  (Flap cover text)

China Dolls: a novel by Lisa See.

“The New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls has garnered international acclaim for her great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate. Now comes Lisa See’s highly anticipated new novel, China Dolls.

It’s 1938 in San Francisco: a world’s fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition.

The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.”

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: a novel by Susan Jane Gilman.

“In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street.

Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, “The Ice Cream Queen” — doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality.

Lillian’s rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.” (Grand Central Pub)

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You: a novel by Courtney Maum.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette meets Beautiful Ruins in this reverse love story set in Paris and London about a failed monogamist’s attempts to answer the question: Is it really possible to fall back in love?

Despite the success of his first solo show in Paris and the support of his brilliant French wife and young daughter, thirty-four-year-old British artist Richard Haddon is too busy mourning the loss of his American mistress to a famous cutlery designer to appreciate his fortune.

But after Richard discovers that a painting he originally made for his wife, Anne—when they were first married and deeply in love—has sold, it shocks him back to reality and he resolves to reinvest wholeheartedly in his family life . . . just in time for his wife to learn the extent of his affair. Rudderless and remorseful, Richard embarks on a series of misguided attempts to win Anne back while focusing his creative energy on a provocative art piece to prove that he’s still the man she once loved.

Skillfully balancing biting wit with a deep emotional undercurrent, debut novelist Courtney Maum has created the perfect portrait of an imperfect family—and a heartfelt exploration of marriage, love, and fidelity.” (Simon and Schuster)

The Matchmaker: a novel by Elin Hilderbrand.

“48-year-old Nantucketer Dabney Kimball Beech has always had a gift for matchmaking. Some call her ability mystical, while others – like her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech, and her daughter, Agnes, who is clearly engaged to the wrong man – call it meddlesome, but there’s no arguing with her results: With 42 happy couples to her credit and all of them still together, Dabney has never been wrong about romance.

Never, that is, except in the case of herself and Clendenin Hughes, the green-eyed boy who took her heart with him long ago when he left the island to pursue his dream of becoming a journalist. Now, after spending 27 years on the other side of the world, Clen is back on Nantucket, and Dabney has never felt so confused, or so alive.

But when tragedy threatens her own second chance, Dabney must face the choices she’s made and share painful secrets with her family. Determined to make use of her gift before it’s too late, she sets out to find perfect matches for those she loves most. The Matchmaker is a heartbreaking story about losing and finding love, even as you’re running out of time.” (Grand Central Pub)

Summer House With Swimming Pool: a novel byHerman Koch.

“When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy.

Featuring the razor-sharp humor and acute psychological insight that made The Dinner an international phenomenon, Summer House with Swimming Pool is a controversial, thought-provoking novel that showcases Herman Koch at his finest.” (Random House, Inc.)

The Lobster Kings: a novel by Alexi Zentner.

“From the internationally acclaimed author of Touch, praised as “breathtaking” (People) and “lovely…at once dreamy and riveting” (Washington Post), comes a powerful family saga steeped in the legends of the sea. Set in a lobster fishing village, The Lobster Kings introduces a fiery and unforgettable heroine, Cordelia Kings.The Kings family has lived on Loosewood Island for three hundred years, blessed with the bounty of the sea. But for the Kings, this blessing comes with a curse: the loss of every firstborn son. Now, Woody Kings, the leader of the island’s lobster fishing community and the family patriarch, teeters on the throne, and Cordelia, the oldest of Woody’s three daughters, stands to inherit the crown. To do so, however, she must defend her island from meth dealers from the mainland while navigating sibling rivalry and the vulnerable nature of her own heart when she falls in love with her sternman. Inspired by King Lear, The Lobster Kings is the story of Cordelia’s struggle to maintain her island’s way of life in the face of danger from offshore and the rich, looming, mythical legacy of her family’s namesake.” (WW Norton)

The Hurricane Sisters: a novel by Dorothea Benton Frank.

“Once again Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep into the heart of her magical South Carolina Lowcountry on a tumultuous journey filled with longings, disappointments, and, finally, a road toward happiness that is hard earned. There we meet three generations of women buried in secrets. The determined matriarch, Maisie Pringle, at eighty, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, especially when she’s dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz’s beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, whose dreamy ambitions of her unlikely future keeps them all at odds.

Luckily for Ashley, her wonderful older brother, Ivy, is her fierce champion but he can only do so much from San Francisco where he resides with his partner. And Mary Beth, her dearest friend, tries to have her back but even she can’t talk headstrong Ashley out of a relationship with an ambitious politician who seems slightly too old for her.

Actually, Ashley and Mary Beth have yet to launch themselves into solvency. Their prospects seem bleak. So while they wait for the world to discover them and deliver them from a ramen-based existence, they placate themselves with a hare-brained scheme to make money but one that threatens to land them in huge trouble with the authorities.

So where is Clayton, Liz’s husband? He seems more distracted than usual. Ashley desperately needs her father’s love and attention but what kind of a parent can he be to Ashley with one foot in Manhattan and the other one planted in indiscretion? And Liz, who’s an expert in the field of troubled domestic life, refuses to acknowledge Ashley’s precarious situation. Who’s in charge of this family? The wake-up call is about to arrive.

The Lowcountry has endured its share of war and bloodshed like the rest of the South, but this storm season we watch Maisie, Liz, Ashley, and Mary Beth deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. After a terrible confrontation they are forced to rise to forgiveness, but can they establish a new order for the future of them all?

Frank, with her hallmark scintillating wit and crisp insight, captures how a complex family of disparate characters and their close friends can overcome anything through the power of love and reconciliation. This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering, but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.” (HarperCollins)

The Quick: a novel by Lauren Owen.

“For fans of Anne Rice, The Historian, and The Night Circus, an astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London.

1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.

In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction’s most dazzling talents.”

Rogues edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

“The latest story collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R. R. Martin himself offers a brand-new A Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire Ice and Fire saga. Follow along with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, and Connie Willis as well as other masters of literary sleight-of-hand in this rogues’ gallery of stories that will plunder your heart–and yet leave you all the richer for it.  (Provided by publisher)

Editor