Dr. Trisha Raje
brings modern day morés
and an introverted personality to this Austen classic as she
subconsciously creates problems from miscommunication. Unexplored
emotions and hesitance toward introspection lead Dr. Trisha to
misadventures. Dear Readers watch her spar with the sexy caterer,
whose mother’s favorite book inspired her to name him Darcy—he
goes by DJ. She attempts to reconnect with her family, guilt-ridden
by a long ago transgression of her friend, who has shown up recently
to lure in the caterer. Dr. Trisha remains focused on his sister, her
patient, how she can aid her in reframing her outlook toward her
future as an artist without sight. Dev’s work is, as usual, lush
and gorgeous and emotional and sexy as hell, with complex, realistic
characters in complicated situations in which they must untangle
themselves, eventually giving in to intense feelings. A brilliant
storyteller, she carefully weaves into a well-known story a
contemporary character, her Indian-American culture, and a romance
inspired by, well, gourmet food. Of course. I was fortunate to
receive a copy of this wonderful story through Edelweiss.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award winning author Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after. Her books have been on NPR, Washington Post, Library Journal, and Kirkus Best Books of the year lists, but Sonali is most smug about Shelf Awareness calling her “Not only one of the best but also one of the bravest romance novelists working today.” Sonali lives in Chicagoland with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog. Find more at sonalidev.com.
A terrible tragedy unleashes a fateful chain of events for two
families from starkly different worlds in a breathtaking new tale of
suspense that doubles as a razor-sharp take on class conflict in
In his remarkable debut, THE EAST END(Park
Row Books; May 7, 2019; $26.99 U.S./$33.50 CAN.),
novelist Jason Allen constructs a multi-layered story
about the powerful and the powerless, about love and loss, and about
self-destruction and the possibility of redemption. Set in the
Hamptons over one explosive holiday weekend, this immersive must-read
illuminates both sides of the socio-economic divide in a place where
dreams of escape drive potentially catastrophic decisions.
Unfolding from multiple perspectives, THE EAST END opens
with the countdown to Memorial Day underway and recent high school
graduate Corey Halpern in need of a fix. A townie, he burns off
his resentment of the affluent “invaders” who flock to the
community in the summer months by breaking into their lavish mansions
and pulling harmless pranks. Staring down a bleak future, he sees his
hopes of going away to college vanishing. He can’t disappear, not
when his troubled mother, Gina, is barely making ends meet, trying to
get away from an abusive, deadbeat husband, and chasing pills with
too much booze. Trapped in a downward spiral, she staggers towards
rock bottom as Corey and his brother look on helplessly.
Before calling it a night, Corey makes one last stop at the
sprawling lakeside estate where he and Gina work. There he intends to
commit his first-ever robbery but nothing proceeds according to plan.
Married billionaire CEO Leo Sheffield shows up to his ultra-exclusive
Gin Lane property early, accompanied by his handsome, much-younger
lover, Henry. In an instant, everything changes: Drunk, high, and all
alone, Henry is the victim of a fatal poolside accident.
Unfortunately for a distraught Leo, Corey saw what happened—and so
did someone else.
For this immensely privileged man who is not used to getting his
hands dirty, his very existence now depends on containing the
collateral damage. And time is running out. Leo’s overbearing wife
and three grown children will be arriving soon, along with a house
full of high-maintenance guests. Desperate to preserve his fortune
and his freedom, Leo takes irrevocable steps that expose him to
scandal and far worse. Over the next few tension-filled days, hidden
entanglements, unexpected opportunities, and clashing loyalties
propel Corey, Gina, and Leo to extremes—and ultimately, to shocking
outcomes no one will anticipate.
Atmospheric, emotionally probing, and complexly unmissable, this
kaleidoscopic narrative plunges its brilliantly realized characters
into timely, all-too-relatable moral quandaries that defy easy
answers and resound long after the final page.
Corey breaks into the houses of the wealthy who summer in the Hamptons, to play pranks on them as a way to vent his frustrations as a local serving these “invaders.” The night he chooses to enter the home of his mother’s employer Mr. Sheffield, he learns a scandalous secret and witnesses a tragedy, and then he falls in love. The weekend brings a multitude of challenges for the Sheffield family and Corey’s mom, who’s fighting a drug addiction and a violent ex, as well as Corey and his new love. Allen brilliantly portrays the blurred lines of integrity and honesty for the haves and have-nots in a scenario that flips dependency from one to the other and exposes everyone’s agenda. No character is truly endearing, nor is any character wholly evil, but all are complex, self-serving and compassionate in turn. Fans of “Somethings in the Water,” “Beautiful Bad,” or “Hunting Annabelle” will appreciate this story. It’s a peek at what we might do if we had the chance, and what happens when we involve ourselves in something that’s not our business. I received a digital copy of this fantastic story from Park Row Books through NetGalley.
Jason Allen grew up in a working-class home in the
Hamptons, where he worked a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy
estate owners. He writes fiction, poetry, and memoir, and is the
author of the poetry collection A Meditation on Fire. He has
an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in literature and creative
writing from Binghamton University. He currently lives in Atlanta,
Georgia, where he teaches writing. THE EAST END is his first
At her local drugstore, Amy Byler runs into her husband, who went on
a business trip to Hong Kong and stayed for three years. He’s
returned to make things right and be the father his children deserve.
School Librarian Amy signs up to present her reading program at a
conference in NYC, where she plans to reconnect with her college
roommate, during the kids’ week with their father. She meets a hot
librarian, makes a new friend, and starts a movement. Harms cleverly
uses the modern-day epistolary of email and texting in this humorous
exploration of a single mom becoming her own woman. Fans of Ann
Garvin, Katherine Center, and Kerry Anne King will appreciate Harms’
voice. I received a digital copy of this wonderful story from Lake
Union through NetGalley.
What happens when an overworked, underappreciated single mother of two
gets an opportunity to spend a week away from reality in NYC? What
happens when that week turns into an entire summer? And, what happens
when this rare gift of personal freedom, self-reflection, and fun comes
to an end?
These are the questions at the heart of former editor and literary agent
Kelly Harms’ delightful and empowering new novel, THE OVERDUE LIFE OF AMY BYLER
(Lake Union Publishing; May 1, 2019; hardcover), about a middle-aged
woman’s much-needed Momspringa.* Full of wit, heart, bookish-references,
and romance, THE OVERDUE LIFE OF AMY BYLER is next year’s feel-good read!
*Momspringa (n.): A period of time when moms are given time away from
the demands of daily life, including their children, so they can
recharge and reconnect with themselves as human women. Inspired by the
Amish term Rumspringa.
They say that cats don’t like change. But Luna, an imaginative tabby, understands that sometimes it’s necessary. When her owner, Annika, moved back to her small New England hometown six months ago along with her sixteen-year-old twins, Luna knew it was for the best. Ever since Annika’s husband, Peter, died suddenly, the family has been floundering. Luna, too, is guilt-ridden, sure she could have done more to save her favorite person. Luna also knows something the others don’t know. Peter’s spirit is still with them, and Luna believes there is something he needs her help to do . . .
Annika has been struggling to move on. It doesn’t help that her son, Donovan, blames her for his father’s death. Peter always told Annika that they had the best love story going, yet the fact is that much of their story has been hidden away, even from their children. When Annika’s first love, Sam, arrives to plow them out during an intensifying storm, the truth begins to emerge at last. And Luna—watchful and unwavering in her affection—may be her family’s best hope of learning how to forgive and to heal . . .
Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.
Then a shocking
tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling,
Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the
issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical
proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to
make—then commit to complete and total honesty.
What seems like a
smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and
even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion
of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is
honesty really the best policy?
Penelope believes her life as a wife and mother inferior to her always perfectly put together friend Jenny, whose daughter is just as seemingly pristine as her mother. She is blindsided by the tragedy of her friend’s life, causing her to re-evaluate her own marriage and motherhood. Pagan brilliantly portrays the chaos that is raising children, with an opening scene of Penelope in the bathroom asking if she will ever have a moment of peace. The disconnect between spouses blares from the pages as they discuss who’s to blame for the lack of toilet paper, and Penelope notes that Sanjay barely looks at her to confirm that her appearance is satisfactory. Her re-evaluation puts them on a bumpy road back to each other and a cohesive family unit. Pagan juxtaposes the consequences of social comparison and lack of connection with an ever-increasing social problem in a credible and empathetic manner. This story is a reminder to pay closer attention to the ones you love. It’s a 5-star lesson in life.
tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical
career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic
daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, all Braden wants
is to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.
When his ex-wife and son are killed in car accident, Braden
returns home hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled
seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her
from the curse that seems to be shadowing his family?
Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man
who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an
oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure that Braden plays
the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the
shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do
anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love
to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music.
Kerry Anne King lives with her Viking in a little house surrounded by
trees, the perfect place for writing books and daylight dreaming.
She spends her days working as an RN in a clinic, spinning her
tales early in the morning and in the evenings after work. She
believes passionately in the idea of the “whole self” and
is ever in pursuit of balancing mind, body, and spirit. She also
writes fantasy and mystery novels as Kerry
Schafer and provides coaching
services to creatives who are experiencing procrastination,
overwhelm, and other blocks that get in the way of their important
ring, please.” Father Monahan turned to Jeffrey, whose gaze sent
everyone’s eyes to the back of the room. Whatever he was looking at
was not apparent, and all returned their attention to the couple.
groom stage-whispered angrily at his best man. He couldn’t be
bothered right now that his lifelong friend’s unrequited love
hadn’t shown. For god’s sake, it was his wedding. If Jeffrey
ruined it, their friendship was in question. It had been faltering
ever more as this obsession had grown.
Laila slowly opened
the heavy church door, hoping for a quiet entrance. She was late,
hadn’t been expecting to come at all. Susanna had begged her to
come. Her little sister’s wedding was a must, but she understood
that HE would be there. They agreed that no one wanted the commotion
that would ensue from her presence. Yet she desperately wished to see
her baby girl she helped raise marry the man of her dreams. The door
squeak echoed around the three-stories’ tall ceiling. Acoustics
were fantastic in here—as a singer, she was impressed. Then all
eyes turned again to the back of the room.
Halfway up, Laila’s
ex-husband Henri sat with two of their children, both of them excited
about baby sister as flower girl. Upon seeing Laila in the doorway,
with sunlight haloing her auburn hair, he stood up, snapped his
fingers for the kids to follow, and headed to the door. As he walked
down the aisle, he heard a gasp from the front, but didn’t turn to
find out from who. In his peripheral vision, he noted a tall man in
black on the left get up and head in the same direction. He did not
want to know who this guy was. Henri reached back for his children.
The sound of little feet running behind him assured him that all his
kids were coming.
A time travel criminal shot Kin’s Temporal Corruption Bureau retrieval beacon, stranding him in 1996. In the two decades it took his colleagues from 2142 to find him, he built a life with a wife and daughter. Regulations force him back to the future, where he’s been missing for only weeks from his work and his fiancee. His inexplicable disappearance, and her mother’s death, sends his daughter spiraling downward. He breaches protocol, reaching out to her digitally, endangering both. Chen brilliantly maintains time travel integrity, with its possibilities and limitations, placing his main character in an organization enforcing law throughout time, with strict safety policies for agents preventing him from aiding his daughter. This is a family drama that just happens to have a time travel element—a well-written, speculative suspense novel. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Mira Books through NetGalley.
me about your writing process: schedule, environment, strategies /
techniques, and inspirations material and abstract.
an organic writer—I think a lot ahead of time about the characters
and what my story’s central questions will be, but don’t outline
in detail or swear by any particular tools or strategies, beyond
reading voraciously, as much as I’m able. I’m very disciplined,
with daily and weekly goals, and believe firmly in the power of
forward momentum once I get going on a manuscript.
wrote my first two novels by night, as my babies/toddlers slept,
while working a demanding day job as editorial director for Writer’s
Digest magazine. Not long after signing the contract for Forget
You Know Me, I scaled back my role at the magazine and shifted to
writing by day as my primary focus. A writing career involves a fair
amount of evenings and weekends for things like book clubs,
conferences and festivals, so this is a much more workable focus for
my family, which always comes first.
your publishing process, from final draft to final product, including
publishing team and timeline. How did your work in the industry
prepare you for the writing world as an author?
been a little different for every book, particularly as staffing
changes at my publisher have led to a few editorial team transitions,
but I’m working at the pace of about a book a year. I refine a
draft until I think (hope) it’s close to working as what I
envisioned for the story, then get feedback from a few trusted
readers and revise yet again before turning it over to my editor.
Then comes another round to incorporate the excellent suggestions
from her professional eye.
work in the industry taught me what a team effort publishing is; I
have enormous respect for my editors, having been one, and deep
gratitude for the efforts of the hardworking support teams—marketing,
publicity, design and beyond.
are your biggest cheerleaders online and IRL, and how did you get
into the Tall Poppies (beyond being an excellent storyteller)?
family and friends—who’ve seen firsthand my dedication to this
craft since long before I ever got published—are my biggest
cheerleaders, and their warm support means the world to me.
Also, at the start, were my colleagues at Writer’s Digest—we
were all writers with a genuine love for the work we were doing
there, and it was humbling to have them so enthusiastically in my
corner—as well as a debut author group called 17 Scribes—it was
invaluable to be tapped into a network of other authors publishing
their first novels in 2017, and many of us remain connected today.
met some of the Tall Poppy Writers through conferences, WD, the
Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and online, and had admired
their collaborative spirit and talented body of work for years; I was
elated when they invited me to join.
does your life influence your writing and vice versa? Please share
fun details about being the 2019 Writer-in-Residence for Public
Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
I don’t write directly from life experiences, of course we all are
heavily influenced by the phases of life in which we find ourselves
and the beautiful (and not so beautiful) aspects of human nature that
turn our heads. I’d find it impossible to separate the two!
a wonderful honor to be serving as the newly minted
Writer-in-Residence for the Cincinnati library system this year; it
encompasses more than 40 branches, and I’ll doing community
engagement with local readers (visiting library branch book clubs and
hosting a podcast) as well as aspiring writers (teaching free
workshops and holding office hours, for instance).
do you love most about your creativity?
dreaming up a story from pure imagination, somehow, I end up feeling
more like me.
inherits the yearbook that the class of 1969 dedicated to her mother,
their teacher. Attending every class reunion of that year’s class,
her mom dashed off judgment calls in that yearbook, while alienating
her family further. Daphne has no use for it and tosses it in
recycling, only to discover her neighbor has rescued it and has
documentary plans for it, focusing on her mother’s life. In her
attempt to repossess it, Daphne learns exactly how much she didn’t
know about her mother, and how much better her father knows her than
she realized. Secrets explode, Daphne explodes…romance ensues.
Lipman creates a
character whose complexity makes her less endearing than interesting,
leading dear reader to enjoy her ups and downs from outside the
emotions, yet still root for her as she makes terrible life
decisions. Choices made by all family members in the past reverberate
in the presence, causing confusion and offering challenging choices.
The integrity of the characters remains resolute as they fluffercate
over “9/10 of the law” and “right to know.” This is an
absolutely FUN story, whipping back and forth in allegiances, and up
and down in storyline. I was fortunate to receive a copy of this
fabulous book from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through a